Alarm as modelling star is born

By Kathy Marks

Kirsty Thatcher has won the Dolly magazine model search at the age of 13. Photo / Supplied
Kirsty Thatcher has won the Dolly magazine model search at the age of 13. Photo / Supplied

Kirsty Thatcher's idol is Australian supermodel Miranda Kerr.

After winning a magazine model search, the 13-year-old is being touted as the new Kerr - but some are horrified that a girl her age is being thrust into modelling.

Kerr was 13, too, when she won the same contest, organised by teen magazine Dolly, and her success unleashed a similar controversy. That was 1997; five years later, the magazine axed the competition. Now it has been revived, with editor Tiffany Dunk claiming that nowadays it focuses more on confidence and personality than appearance.

It must be coincidence, then, that Thatcher happens to be gorgeous, with a radiant smile. She "always had a dream of becoming a model", the Brisbane girl said. Which begged the question: since what age? Eight?

The prize is a modelling contract with top Sydney agency Chad-wicks. Its managing director, Martin Walsh, like-ned the industry to elite sport: "If a kid shows great talent as a sportsman, you don't ignore it, you recognise it and you guide it."

Mia Freeman, the former Dolly editor who abolished the competition, is disappointed it is back. "I wanted the magazine to make a strong stand against the idea of valuing teenage girls purely for the way they look," she wrote on her website, mamma-mia.com. "No matter how you try to dress it up, the modellng industry is 100 per cent based on external appearance, something few girls can ever change about themselves no matter how much they torture themselves."

Thatcher's mother, Debbie, told the Courier-Mail: "She's a very mature girl and will take it all in her stride."

- NZ Herald

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