Monday, December 10, 2007

Janice weighs in on underage models

How young is too young for girls to model?
World’s first supermodel worries what could befall 13-year-old Australian

By Mike Celizic contributor
updated 9:30 a.m. ET, Tues., Sept. 18, 2007

Janice Dickinson was the world’s first supermodel, and she doesn’t care how adult and graceful Australian model Maddison Gabriel looks on a fashion runway. At barely 13 years of age, she’s just too young, Dickinson said.

“There’s lots of drugs, there’s lots of alcohol, there’s lots of photographers preying on these girls,” Dickinson said Tuesday on TODAY. “Thirteen is way too young.”

Maddison turned 13 on Sunday; she was still 12 when she was chosen as the “face” and official ambassador of the Gold Coast Fashion Week in Australia. At 5 feet 7 inches, the blue-eyed girl has the looks and the moves to model clothing — some of it provocative — designed for women two and three times her age.

“It doesn’t matter about the age,” she says with adolescent insouciance. “It matters that you can do the job. I can fit into women’s clothes. I can model women’s clothes, so I should be able to do it.”

“Well, there’s babies on TV, isn’t there, doing commercials,” says her mother, Michelle Gabriel, who has been wildly criticized in Australia for allowing her daughter to start modeling at such a young age. “You tell me. What is too young?”
Maddison Gabriel

The Gabriels were in London when they made those statements recently. Maddison can not work as a fashion model in Europe, though; the age limit for runway work there is 16.

And Dickinson said that she will not allow any girls under 18 to model for her agency.

“I have about 32 girls who are dying to break that 18-year-old mark,” she told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer. “Get your high school diploma and then come and see me.”

Dickinson knows what she’s talking about. Born in 1955 in Brooklyn to parents she’s described as dysfunctional at best, she went to Europe to become a model in the 1970s and catapulted to stardom.

She also leaped into the world of Studio 54, alcohol, drugs and indiscriminate sex, once telling Howard Stern that she had slept with at least 1,000 men.

Dickinson, who still looks spectacular at 52, is sober now, the owner of her own modeling agency and a judge on “America’s Next Top Model.” She also appears on “The Surreal Life.”

Is 13-year-old too young to model?
Is 13-year-old too young to model?

source: / Today Show