When I was 9-years-old, the only thing I remember is going to school, playing in the jungle gym at the apartments I lived in and taking ballet lessons. I could not imagine anything but a simple and carefree lifestyle.
But what if you were a 9-year-old and had the opportunity to model and walk the runway in Paris? You would be wearing some of the most extravagant clothes, all eyes would be on you and the pay/compensation would probably be generous. Is this a dream come true or would it promote controversy? Well that’s exactly what 9-year-old Xiu Qui went to find out.
Qiu was given the chance to model for Chinese designer Laurence Xu at a recent runway show in Paris. From the photos, it seems her adorable cherub-like face was paired with elegance and poise– two words that would not typically describe someone in that age group. Nonetheless, despite the bright lights and media attention, she walked down the runway with ease while wearing beautiful brocade dresses.
However, it has not been all praise for Xu with his choice of a child model. In addition to a number of comments from Chinese netizens claiming their child could do better or that using a child model is inappropriate, the relationship between Qui and Xu are unclear. We don’t know whether they are friends or relatives, but ever since Qui’s appearance in Chinese media, people have been accusing Xu of nepotism (those of influence who favor friends or relatives and give them jobs).
Adding fuel to the fire, one of the dresses Qui modeled is white and this promoted the bizarre idea, especially to Western viewers, that the image simulated a young bride. Some took offense when Qui walked with Xu down the runway in the white dress. However, this is far from the truth. Traditionally, Chinese brides wear red on their wedding day and white is reserved for mourning.
Laurence Xu’s decision to use 9-year-old Xiu Qui as a model remains shrouded in mystery, but one thing is clear: Chinese media is not fond of the bold move.
All images courtesy of refinery29.com/ RICHARD BORD/GETTY IMAGES.