As the child of two British actors Jude Law and Sadie Frost, Iris Law is not a stranger to the glamorous life of the rich and famous. Recently, Iris Law entered the modelling world to feature in a campaign for independent fashion label, Illustrated People. Law’s decision to enter this heavily criticised industry follows an emerging trend of teenagers, who have grown up surrounded by fame and fortune, attempting to make a name in their own right within the fashion industry. This trend has brought about the question: should people of such a young age be exposed to such a highly pressurised industry?

Iris Law joins the likes of young teenagers such as Lily Rose Depp, Sailor Brinkley Cook and Willow Smith as models in editorial pieces and/or campaigns. This has been seen both positively and negatively, as inconspicuous teenagers are more likely to resonate with them. These models now have the power to influence the attitudes and behaviours of society as a whole.

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If they use their role model status to bring about messages of acceptance and respect, then they could help to eliminate the pervasive desire to fulfil the definition of ‘perfection’. Vogue recently conducted an interview with young singer/model, Willow Smith. In response to questions on her recent endeavour into the world of modelling, the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith stated “I want to embrace myself, as natural as I can be”.

In response to questions on her recent endeavour into the world of modelling, the daughter of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith stated “I want to embrace myself, as natural as I can be”

Any model within the industry will find not only their professional life scrutinised by the public eye, but their personal life also. Young models are especially prone to such scrutiny as they are more likely to have an easily influenced younger audience. David Beckham’s eldest son has taken this extra pressure in his stride by demonstrating his hard working and down to earth values. Despite his extremely affluent parents and his recent modelling campaign with Polish label Reserved, he still chose to get a minimum wage job in a West London coffee shop where he is reported to earn £2.68 an hour. Expressing a strong work ethic is only likely to have a positive impact on his similarly aged counterparts.

Brooklyn Beckham still chose to get a minimum wage job in a West London coffee shop where he is reported to earn £2.68 an hour

However, some young models choose to abuse their acquired position of power or are represented in an inappropriate way, causing teens that resonate with them to potentially imitate their unhealthy or undesirable behaviour. The Illustrated People campaign features Iris Law wearing a full face of dramatised make-up. Is this look necessary to achieve a look of so-called desirability?

The fashion industry has been consistently castigated for focusing only on one type of body shape, causing a trend of unhealthy or fad diets. Teen celebrity models also tend to fall into this category in terms of body size and shape. Iris Law, Lily Rose Depp and Sailor Brinkley Cook are all as size 6 or less. In a society that now sees children as young as five being admitted to hospital for disordered eating, the sole use of models of a small clothing size, especially those of an impressionable age, is only likely to worsen the problem.

WillowSmithfree

Nonetheless, it could easily be misconstrued – the line between appropriate and inappropriate within this age range is a thin one

Heavy sexualisation is an issue that has been raised by the initiation of younger models being used in high profile campaigns. Although it may not have been intended in this manner, Willow Smith’s recent contribution to the #freethenipple campaign has caused controversy. Despite some considering the campaign’s message to be admirable, others thought it was inappropriate for a girl of Willow’s age to be featured in such a risqué photograph, allegedly encouraging younger women to engage in sexual promiscuity. In the photograph Willow is fully clothed, with only the illusion of being exposed. Nonetheless, it could easily be misconstrued – the line between appropriate and inappropriate within this age range is a thin one.

It is hard to pinpoint causality of the emerging, detrimental societal trends, therefore in this case should young individuals be denied entrance into the industry they aspire to enter? Whatever the conclusion, it is a ground best treaded with extreme caution.

Jo Grimwood

Credits: defamer.gawker.com via Instagram/willowsmithfan, www.illustratedpeople.com, Instagram/lilyrose_depp

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