Thylane Blondeau Covers 'Jalouse' Magazine, But is She Too Young?

Top fashion magazines have a history of selecting models at a young age and supporting their rise to fame, but the latest starlet-to-be may just be too young. Model Thylane Blondeau is only 13, and already she's covering French magazine Jalouse for its April 2014 issue. Jalouse included the oh-so-clever hashtag #bornin2001 as further reminder of the model's age. Has the fashion industry's youth-obsessed culture gone too far?

Jalouse exclaims that Blondeau is "the new Kate Moss," perhaps referring to Moss's notorious discovery at JFK when she was only 14. Blondeau does bare a striking resemblance to a young Moss and would likely make anything she wears look gorgeous. But the model is barely a teenager and has already been modeling for several years since her Vogue Paris photo spread caused a media frenzy in 2011. For anyone who's counting, Blondeau was only 10 years old when the issue was published, and the spread contained images of the model sprawled on a bed in decidedly grown-up makeup and clothing.

Critics who wondered where Blondeau's parents were in the mayhem got their answer from the child's mother Veronika soon after the spread was published. Though she said nothing either defending or detracting from her choice to allow her daughter to pose for Vogue, Blondeau's mother posted a pleading Facebook message to fans and critics alike, writing:

hey guys im the mum of thylane something going 's wrong at the moment and bad personn in usa about pictures she make's 8 mounths ago for vogue ,,thylane doesn't know about the buzz and i want to protect her from the deapest of my heart ,,, she's so young...

The CFDA Health Initiative states that models under 18 may not be overworked, and those under 16 may not be hired for runway shows, so featuring one who has barely reached adolescence in print spreads raises questions. Not only does the work expose a child to a notoriously harsh industry, but also suggests that our female beauty ideal is a woman so young she's prepubescent.

With magazine spreads available in print, online and in digital format, the media has the ability to create cultural phenomena instantaneously. And even with vast strides being made in increased diversity and adjustments in our attitude towards beauty, employing young girls still appears to be an issue with consumers.

Safeguarding youths such as Blondeau from unwanted media attention and preventing the propagation of negative cultural expectations is a joint effort on the part of the fashion industry and consumers of its products. But with a society that already wants us to grow up as quickly as possible while still looking like we're adolsecents, we may have to consider the cultural implications of encouraging the employment of veritable children in the fashion industry, and whether the creation of a beautiful image is worth the potentially negative effects of an increasingly youth-centric culture.

Image: Jalouse Magazine