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Wednesday, April 7, 2010 as of 11:14 AM ET

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  • Racy photo shoot of 10-year-old model Thylane Blondeau stirs controversy

    (YouTube)

    Model Thylane Lena-Rose Blondeau, billed as high fashion’s next “it” girl, is quite literally a girl.

    The catwalker is just 10 years old.

    Photos of the 4th grader pouting provocatively in heavy make-up and high heels have caused an international stir over her highly sexualized image.

    “We have grave concerns about the modeling agency who represent Blondeau, which clearly does not know if it represents a child or an adult,” a spokesperson for the Mothers’ Union told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper. “Photo shoots requiring her, a 10-year-old-girl, to dress in full make-up, teetering heels and a dress with a cleavage cut to the waist across her pre-pubescent body deny Blondeau the right to be the child she is.”

    Born in the Ivory Coast of Africa to former soccer player Patrick Blondeau and actress Véronika Loubry, young Blondeau has graced the cover of Vogue Enfants, posed in editorials for French Vogue, and–at the age of four–walked in Jean-Paul Gaultier’s spring show.

    Until yesterday, there was a Tumblr page devoted to the model, “F**k Yeah Thylane Blondeau,” which has since been taken down.

    Experts warn that the sexualization of children as young as Blondeau can be damaging.

    “If children are to develop into happy, grounded and psychologically balanced people their childhood needs to be spent appropriately preparing for the demands of the adult world,” clinical psychologist Dr. Emma Gray explains to the Daily Mail. “Before they are exposed to this world it is the task of the adults around them to create an environment that gives them the time, space and nurture to complete their physical and psychological development. Prematurely exposing a child to the adult world is dangerously preventing the completion of their development into a person who can survive in it.”

    One Blondeau fan is not too worried. “Your modeling is artistically beautiful,” writes one male admirer on the Miss Thylane Blondeau Facebook page. “I appreciate the opportunity to be graced by it.”

    Yeah right.

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