Fury as 12-year-old 'model' fronts world fashion show
17th September 2007
A 12-year-old has caused a media frenzy after she was chosen to front one of the world's largest fashion shows.
Blonde-haired, blue-eyed Maddison Gabriel was picked as the official ambassador of Gold Coast Fashion Week in Australia and has also worn a number of revealing outfits for the Queensland event.
The country's Prime Minister John Howard strongly criticised the decision saying it was unacceptable.
He said: "Catapulting girls as young as 12 into something like that is outrageous."
Mr Howard wants Australia to follow the example of Europe and ban models younger than 16 appearing on catwalks.
"There should be age limits, I mean there has to be, we do have to preserve some notion of innocence in our society," he said.
But the 5ft 7ins youngster, who turned 13 yesterday, believed she deserved to win the modelling competition to become the 'face' of the show.
"I believe that I can fit into women's clothes. I can model women's clothes, so I should be able to do it," she said.
"It doesn't matter about age, it matters that you can do the job. Modelling is all I've wanted to do since I was six - I don't think I'm too young."
Maddison has signed an exclusive media deal and contracted an experienced celebrity agent since the furore broke.
Her mother Michelle Gabriel has defended her child's right to model and demanded an apology from the Prime Minister.
"I believe the Prime Minister is getting very doddery," she said.
"He does not know exactly what 13 and 14-year-old girls are like. I used to vote for him. We're trying to get our teenage daughters to act older. I am so happy that I've got a daughter who has got a good head on her shoulders."
And Fashion Week spokesman Kelly Wieler said Maddison was not too young.
"Maddy got in because she was the best contestant - the judges saw that she was fit to do the job."
She added that the schoolgirl would not be modelling swimwear or lingerie.
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