Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Controversy over the 13 year old teenager picked for the Dolly Covergirl competition

There's been controversy this week over the fact that a 13 year old was chosen to be the cover girl for Aussie girl magazine, Dolly. Considering it's aimed at teenagers then it's a safe bet there's going to be a teenager picked.

The Dolly competition was bought back after ten years, because then editor, Mia Freedman, banned it from the magazine, stating, "So why did I axe it? Because I thought the message it sent to girls – that the most important thing about you is how you look – was an appalling one. A negative one. A damaging one. Remember being 13? At the most mentally and emotionally vulnerable time in a girl’s life, why on earth would you throw her into a world that judges and rejects you exclusively on how you look? And what you weigh.

Here’s a clue that the modelling industry is messed up: the winner of this year’s contest was the youngest finalist. Why? Because if you want to be a model, 16 or 17 is too old. As Girlfriend’s editor said last year about her magazine’s winner, her tender age would give her ‘a headstart’ in the industry.

That’s why girls as young as 13 – like the Dolly and Girlfriend model contest winners – are sent overseas to meet with agents and go on casting. As one model manager said about this practice: ”I know many people think 13 is very young but it’s what the international brands are looking for in Europe,” she said. ”Models are too old now at 16.”

Dolly and Girlfiend’s editors (both of whom I’ve worked with during my mag career) claim their winners will be used in ‘age-appropriate’ ways in their magazines and I believe them. After all, they are magazines for teenage girls whose average reader is probably 13. The models in their pages SHOULD be 13.

So why not call them ambassadors instead of models? Because there aren’t enough teenage mags or products to sustain the career of a 13 or 14 or even 15 year old model. So they are invariably used to model clothes and products aimed at adults.

Quite frankly, I think Mia axed the competition because she's a bit of a plain and boring ugly duckling. She's no oil painting and probably had bad teenage years with no hope of ever winning a teen magazine competition.

She also said, "The Dolly model contest has always been pretty iconic. Miranda Kerr won it when she was 13 and you’ll hear this a lot whenever the subject comes up, as a justification for why it’s OK and even a good thing. ‘Miranda Kerr won it at 13 and look at her now!’ etc.

But for every Miranda Kerr, there are thousands of teenage models who don’t go on to become Victoria’s Secret Angels and marry Hollywood stars (side note: is becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel something we want to encourage girls to aspire to anyway? If that’s the pinnacle of your career, what does that say about the values of the modelling industry?)."

I've seen the footage of when Miranda won years ago, and what they should have been worried about was how thin she was.

June Dally-Watkins, who was a model and now runs a school for personal and professional development even had a say this week, claiming something along the lines of, why shouldn't a 13 year old have the chance to make a name for herself, who said she couldn't have a career.

Go June!

Personally, it's a load of hoohaa!

We need teen models to model clothes made for teens, DUH! Just like we need baby models, and toddler models, and kid models, and late teen models, and adult models, come on people, we need models of all ages and considering this is ONLY Dolly magazine, although we do have Girlfriend magazine as well, it's the same thing, these magazines are geared toward teens so who else are they going to have on the cover or winning the competition?

Dolly announced the winner on their website with this - "As well as appearing on the cover of the August issue of DOLLY — which is on sale next Monday — and in a fashion shoot in the same mag, Kirsty has won a year-long ambassador role with DOLLY magazine plus a modelling contract with Chadwick Models and a trip to New York to meet with their affiliated US agency.

"I've loved getting to know all the six finalists and all of them have incredibly bright futures ahead," says DOLLY editor Tiff. "But the end of the day we had to pick a winner and Kirsty really impressed all of us with her great attitude, well-balanced lifestyle and range of interests and achievements outside of the modelling world.

"Kirsty is not only amazing in front of the camera, but she's a part of the Queensland Theatre Company, is an accomplished pianist, plays a variety of different sports and heaps more. What also impressed us was her great attitude on set and support of her fellow finalists. I can't wait for Kirsty to start her role with DOLLY — and for you to hear more from her too."

My problem with this is that the girls are too thin and do not represent average teen girls. But then I guess an average size plain girl wouldn't have been considered as cover girl material. They also think she's a great role model. As most people have pointed out, she hasn't done anything to be a role model, unless you want girls to be thin. So I guess it all depends on how things go over the next year. Not every teen model ends up a drugged up alcoholic ex model by the time they're 18!

Jewels xxoo


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