Kaia Gerber, Cindy Crawford's daughter, modeling in Versace children's line

Model Cindy Crawford is pulling her 10 year old daughter Kaia from modeling until she is 17.  Kaia, became an overnight sensation when she modeled for Versace’s new line of children’s clothing in January, 2011.  Ironically, Cindy Crawford was the muse for Versace at the height of her own career.

Regardless of the fact that Kaia isn’t really all that upset over it, there is a lot of controversy surrounding girls entering the modeling world too young.  A few months ago, supermodel Emily Sandberg of Supermodelblogger.com wrote a fantastic piece about youth in the modeling industry.  In the post, she recounted this comment a friend made of starting to model to young:

“The problem with starting modeling too young is that when the phonies in the business tell you how wonderful you are, you don’t understand that they know nothing about you.  They don’t know what you are thinking, they don’t know what you are feeling, they don’t assume that you are particularly smart.  They see you as a commodity that they can market and make money off of. When you get into the business too young and get uprooted from everybody and everything you knew too early, you mistake these people for your new friends.  They are not.”  

Marc Jacobs' underage models used at Fashion Week

There has been a lot of hoopla in the media.  The CFDA is now requesting (not requiring) that designers use models only over the age of 16.  The fallout of this has included designer  Marc Jacobs gettingt into trouble for knowingly using 14 and 15 year old models a few days ago.  Jacobs’ response to the questions he got for his decision:  “I do the show the way I think it should be and not the way somebody tells me it should be,” said Jacobs. “If their parents are willing to let them do a show, I don’t see any reason that it should be me who tells them that they can’t.”

While I agree with all that is being done to protect youth from the modeling industry as well as with Cindy Crawford’s decision to pull the plug on her daughter’s modeling career until she is 17, I’m not against models starting young IF they are posing as children, not over sexualized adults…or even just as adults, for that matter.   Plus, I agree with Marc Jacobs…to a point…a VERY small point.  We can blame fashion all we want for the use of young girls in fashion, but who the heck are these parents who are allowing it?  Furthermore, what about the show Toddlers & Tiaras?   To me, mothers who force their toddlers into spray tans, fake nails, hair dye and then encourage their children to shake their booties in bare midriffs are the real whack-jobs!

Do you think of underage models should be banned?