Monday, July 14, 2008

The Elite Girl Next Door

Model banned at 12, but a rising star at 13
July 12, 2008

THE 12-year-old model who caused an outrage when she became the face of the Gold Coast Fashion Week last year has been signed by a top New York modelling agency, at just 13.Maddison Gabriel has been signed up by one of the world's most prestigious agencies, Elite Model Management, which has driven the careers of top models including Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford.

The teenager's coup occurred after her Brisbane modelling agency Tamblyn Models, with whom she signed in January, met with Elite last month.

"They thought she was a lovely fresh-looking girl," said Tamblyn Models general manager Sallie Tamblyn.

"They are looking at bringing her over in January during the school holiday period," she said.

The Gold Coast teenager, currently on holiday in France with her family, made headlines from Australia to the US last September when, aged 12, she was selected as the face of Gold Coast Fashion Week, with then prime minister John Howard and US talk show hosts commenting on the case.

Tamblyn said she believed there was no danger to her entering the industry at such a young age.
"I really don't think its detrimental and her age isn't an issue," Tamblyn said.

"Maddison has only ever done age appropriate jobs, which is teenage parades.

"She hasn't done anything that is going to make her into any form of sex object or anything."

According to Tamblyn, premier Sydney modelling agency Chadwick also expressed interest in her.

But Chadwick general manager Martin Walsh said yesterday that a final decision had not been made on whether she would be represented by the agency.

Gabriel's rise into the modelling big time has concerned childhood protection lobby groups.

Australian Childhood Foundation chief executive officer Joe Tucci said he believed the fashion and modelling industry had to re-examine the practise of pushing girls into the industry.

He said children were accepting roles which were beyond their ability to understand.

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