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Is 10 too young to model?

A 10-year-old has just signed a lucrative deal with a LA-based modelling agency. Should she be stopped? Caroline Overington believes it's none of our business.

What shall we get outraged about today?
I know – child models.
Actually, let’s be more specific. Let’s get outraged about a 10-year-old child model who has just signed a lucrative deal with an LA-based modelling agency.
Cue outrage: she’s too young. Why can’t we let kids be kids. Also, aren’t some of those photographs a little provocative? What if a pedophile comes across them? All manner of sick thoughts might go through his head.
I know, let’s ban child models.
Alternatively, let’s get a grip.
Kristina Pimenova is the child in question. She’s been described as ‘the most beautiful girl in the world.’ She’s been modelling at the age of three.
No question, she’s got a pushy Mum.
Mum might deny it, but three year olds can’t decide for themselves to be models. Ten year olds can’t build an Instagram account with 1.2 million followers. There’s got to be an adult behind the scenes and in this case, it’s Mum, who is surely the one who signed the contract, because a 10-year-old can’t legally do that either.
Mum says Kristina loves modelling. Maybe she does.
She’s also lucky, in that she meets precisely the Western of a beautiful young girl. She’s blonde. She’s blue-eyed. She’s slender, and she’s making an absolute fortune.
Should she be stopped?
No.
Why not?
Because this is actually none of our business.
People say, but might end up destroyed by her early fame, and that’s true. Alternatively, she might end up rich and famous (no guarantee of happiness, but better than being poor in the old Russia.)
Then again, she might grow up, and decide to use the cash to go to university, or start a business, or do whatever. Who can say? None of us know the future. Anything can happen to anyone at any time.
Also, if we’re proposing to put some kind of law in place to prevent parents from turning their kids in the models, why stop there?
Kristina’s Mum is no different from a parent who finds themselves with a gifted swimmer, or indeed a gifted mathematician, on their hands.
Should they make him train? Make him study? Take him to trials? Adjust his diet?
It’s up to the parents. Indeed, these decisions are an essential part of parenting. Are you going to make your child do his homework? Eat his greens? Are you going to set a curfew? Are you going to encourage him to live his dreams? Are you going to sit on the sofa and watch daytime TV? Are you going to scream at his teachers when they give him detention for not doing his homework? Are you going to find the money for school excursions? Are you going to drive for three hours every Saturday to get your kid to band practice? Take her to Ralph Lauren so she can lie around in oversized shoes and get paid for it?
None of the answers are anyone else’s business. You can be whatever kind of parent you want. You can be pushy. You can be lazy. You can be manipulative. You can be good and kind and loving.
All we ask is that you don’t hurt them, by which we mean: abuse them.
Allowing them to make a million dollars doesn’t count as abuse (stealing the money might, as plenty of child actors have discovered.)
Also, we all see the world differently. Your version of lazy parenting might mean the Mum that makes her kids take the bus to school every morning, even when it’s raining, because she can’t get out of her pyjamas.
Somebody else might say, well, at least the kids will grow up resilient.
No, provided Kristina is learning to read and write and isn’t being beaten and whipped, this is none of our business. So if you want to worry about something, worry about this: a woman who sold her daughter into sex slavery.
Or else this this: a 10-year-old boy raped by an Iraqi migrant at a public swimming pool in Austria, who then went diving off the three-metre board, like it was no big deal:
That should keep you worriers going, while Kristina and her Mum get on with their lives.

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