Teen sparks controversy as she wins modelling contest aged just THIRTEEN
Competition was axed ten years ago
Miranda Kerr was also 13 when she won the competition in 1997
Prize includes trip to New York to meet with agents
Critics slam the competition for exploiting young girls
19:03 GMT, 10 July 2012
For thousands of young Australian girls Dolly magazine is their monthly fix of fashion, gossip, beauty and boys.
The bright, colourful covers feature teen-friendly stars like Ashley Tisdale, Selena Gomez and Hilary Duff in girl next door poses alongside cover lines like ‘Prettiest Hair in the Whole Wide World, Want it’,’Real Life Twilight’ and ‘When Your Bestie Is Out Of Control’.
But this innocent looking magazine is accused of being guilty of exploiting the young girls it is supposed to represent after announcing a 13-year-old as the winner of its’ recent model search.
Hello Dolly: Fresh-faced 2012 winner Kirsty Thatcher poses next to her cover
It is the first time the controversial competition has run in over a decade, having been axed in 2002 by then editor-in-chief Mia Freedman who deemed it a negative thing for readers and the magazine.
And the crowning of Brisbane schoolgirl Kirsty Thatcher as winner on Monday has reignited the debate on how young is too young to become a model.
Mia says: ‘I understand why they brought it back. I think it’s a great thing that Dolly is using 13 year old girls in their pages because their readers are 13.
'But part of the prize is getting sent to New York to meet with model agents and go to castings.
Too young: Miranda Kerr's cover shot for the magazine in 1995 and editor Mia who axed the competition
'The model industry is a very adult place and I would worry about 13 year old girls being sent overseas and in to castings.
‘Modelling is a business of rejection and for every girl that ends up being Miranda Kerr that are hundreds and thousands that don’t make it.’
Supermodel Miranda is a huge inspiration for most of the girls entering the model search this year.
The brunette is the competition’s highest profile winner, landing the title aged 13 in 1995 going on to become one of the highest paid models in the industry and bagging a handsome Hollywood husband to boot.
In the run up to the competition the Dolly website featured a picture of the 5.9 glamazon dotted with captions announcing: ‘This could be you!!’.
Winner: Kerr has carved out a hugely successful career since winning the competition
As a 13-year-old winner Miranda’s
model prize was also criticised at the time, and reflecting on the media
furore about her age a few years later she mused: 'In the media at the
time they were trying to cling on to anything remotely to do with
'Dolly is a magazine for teenage girls, not for old men.'
And this year’s winner Kirsty Thatcher doesn’t seem fazed by the outcry either.
In fact she's delighted to be a thirteen-year-old following in Miranda Kerr's fashionable footsteps.
'It's amazing to think Miranda was in my position when she was my age and look at everything that she's achieved,” she says.
'Modelling is definitely something that I'd love to do in the future – as a career, it seems like a glamorous lifestyle.'
Defending the search: Dolly is a magazine for young girls not old men says Kerr
Golden girls: Miranda poses with fellow Victoria's Secret 'angels' around their Hollywood Boulevard star
Defending the decision to bring back the competition current editor Tiffany Dunk says: ‘We intentionally didn't ask the girls what their dress size was or how much they weighed.
‘We asked them to tell us something about themselves. We are not just looking for a fashion model, but also a role model who can be a positive ambassador for Dolly.
‘I want to see relatable teenage girls in the media who are inspirational and a good role model’
And talking about why the panel chose Kirsty she enthused: ‘Kirsty really impressed all of us with her great attitude, well-balanced lifestyle and range of interests and achievements outside of the modelling world.
Golden couple: Model Miranda poses with actor beau Orlando Bloom on the red carpet
is not only amazing in front of the camera, but she's a part of the
Queensland Theatre Company, is an accomplished pianist, plays a variety
of different sports and heaps more. What also impressed us was her great
attitude on set and support of her fellow finalists.'
Regardless of Kirsty's glowing CV there's no doubt that debate over the minimum age in the industry will rage.
Talking to the Australian Daily Telegraph ex editor Mia, whose now a columnist for the paper said:.
expose a 13-year-old to a world where they are rejected based on what
they look like and how they weigh is a frightening thing.
'Everyone has the best of intentions, but you can't control what will happen.'