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02 March 2024

UAE parents' outraged over Vogue's kid model

By Bindu Suresh Rai

Outrage best describes the mood of parents across the UAE who are up in arms over the recent images of a 10-year-old model dressed ‘‘provocatively” in a top fashion magazine.

The issue of French Vogue, which features designer Tom Ford as guest editor, sees young model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau dressed to the nines in heavy make-up and skimpy clothes, with one particular gold dress cut down the front to her waist.

“This is sexual exploitation, pure and simple of a 10-year-old child. Her parents should not use their daughter to make a quick buck,” said Anita Chandra, a mother of two teenage daughters in Sharjah. “Social services should be called in and the parents should be punished for their crime.”

The stunning Blondeau is the daughter of French international footballer Patrick Blondeau and TV presenter and actress, Veronika Loubry.

“Children of famous parents should be aware how easy it is to exploit a young child in the glamour world,” said Andrew Kruger, a father of a 10-year-old himself. “Just look at Drew Barrymore, a child of a famous Hollywood family who started experimenting with drugs and alcohol aged 10. Or recently, Lindsay Lohan’s spiral into a haze of drugs and rehab comes to mind.”  

Stunned by the condemnation of the photoshoot, the 10-year-old’s mother, Loubry, posted a message on Blondeau’s Facebook fan site, writing: “Hey guys, I’m the mum of Thylane, something’s going wrong at the moment with Thylane and bad [people] in the USA about pictures she made eight months ago for Vogue.

“Thylane doesn’t know about the buzz and I want to protect [her] from my deepest heart... She’s so young.

“So we are going to close this [account] for a while. I know that all of you are good [people] who like her so I send you a big kiss, thanks.”

But even with the account closing down, the online community is abuzz with messages of disgust even here in the UAE.

One such outraged reader, Honey B Salviejo, posted on her Twitter account: “What happened to age-appropriate decency and morals?”
Rukaya Khan, an Ajman-based resident posted on Facebook: “There are so many levels of wrong in this concept. Firstly, the parents, the stylist, the coordinator, the photographer: all of them should be looked into for the parts they have played in clear exploitation of a sexual nature of a minor.

“And does any one of them even cast a spare thought on the sexual predators that exist in society? They have made this young child a focus of paedophiles, along with online predators who download images of kids and morph them into graphic images.

“This is downright disgusting and a crime.”
In fact, soon after the pictures were first published, a Tumblr blog had been created, posting some explicit images of the child. Since then, the site has been shut down.
No stranger to modelling, Blondeau has graced the cover of “Vogue Enfants”, along with shooting a slew of high-end editorials.
Born in the Ivory Coast, Blondeau has already been compared to sixties siren Brigitte Bardot - who at the age of 15 appeared in ELLE.
The outrage has been consistent globally, with last month, Britain’s Prime Minister David Cameron calling for more stringent rules on the depiction of children and the creation of a website where parents can complain about inappropriate material.

Outrage over Vogue
model aged just 10