Walking tall - at just 13 years old

By Leanne Moore

Tallulah Morton is 5ft 11in (180.34cm), a size 8 with a face like an angel - and the youngest model on the Fashion Week runway.

The Australian import has taken time off from her Byron Bay high school south of Brisbane to model in New Zealand before jetting off to Japan. She is due in New York in the new year and Milan wants her too.

But what is raising some eyebrows is her extreme youth. At just 13 she is a rising star in Australia and talent spotters around the world are knocking on her agent's door.

Legendary fashion photographer Stephen Meisel wants to shoot her in New York when she is there in January. Tallulah, who is in Auckland with mother Amber, keeps up with her studies by laptop. "When she was born, the receptionist at the hospital wanted to see her because the nurses told her she was the most beautiful baby that had ever been born at the hospital," says her mother.

People had been approaching her daughter for years telling her she should be a model. It got to the stage people were photographing her in the street. "It scared me. I wanted to wait until she was 15 or 16 but when that started happening I decided I needed someone else to help me look out for her interests."

She is now signed with Scene and has been brought to New Zealand by new modelling agency Red 11.

Owner Amanda Betts says she is not suitable for all jobs because some clients want a sexier look than a 13-year-old can do. "We [Betts and mother] act like rottweilers. Anyone has to get past us first."

After New Zealand Fashion Week Tallulah flies to Japan with her mother for five weeks' work.

Gucci was keen for her to work for them but a European crackdown on models under 15 has stymied this.

The youngest New Zealand model at the shows is South Auckland schoolgirl Grace Hobson, 14, from Nova Models & Talent.

Grace has already worked overseas and, like Tallulah, one of her parents always travels with her.

Also on the runway yesterday was 13-year-old Jaime Ridge and her friend Frankie March, helping out at mum Sally Ridge's james & august show.

 

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