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Girl, 16, ‘being bullied’ after posing nude on cover of Australian magazine
Published by onlines on November 27, 2009
A 16-year-old girl who posed nude for the cover of a surfing magazine after winning a model search competition is being bullied by her peers, a modelling agency says.
Ella Rose Corby, of Kingscliff, which is south of Tweed Heads on the Far North Coast, became a cover girl after winning Stab magazine’s model search contest.
The prize included being represented by Sydney-based modelling agency Chic Management.
But Chic spokeswoman Kathy Ward said Ella’s family were upset by the photos.
She added: “She is encountering some bullying from other girls of her age.
“I think [the family are] a bit overwhelmed at the moment, they really are. The mum’s in a bit of shock.”
Ms Ward said Ella was concerned about the adverse publicity affecting her career aspirations.
Ms Ward, who has been involved with Chic since its establishment in 1993, slammed the nude shoot, saying it was “totally inappropriate” and, had the agency been representing Ella at the time, it would not have permitted her to pose nude.
“From Chic’s point of view, the shoot that Ella participated in was totally inappropriate … we would never allow such a shoot to progress if we knew that that was the creative brief,” she said.
“They didn’t consult with us; they didn’t brief us; we didn’t even know the shoot was happening.”
The magazine dealt directly with the family, which did not have any professional representation at the time, Ms Ward added.
“I think originally the family was quite comfortable with the creative concept but as it turned out it was quite different from what they envisaged the shot to be like, so … once they finally saw the shot they were upset.”
She said she was unsure of whether the family had been given the opportunity to approve the photos before they were published but that she was speaking with both the Corby family and Stab to try “to get to the bottom of it”.
Stab editor Derek Reilly was not available for comment, but, when Ms Ward spoke to the Herald she said she was with representatives from Stab.
Ms Ward added that Chic Management was keen to represent Ella in the future.
“We think [Ella] is a great girl. We definitely want to represent her but she’s still quite young … so it’s going to be a long process before she actually starts modelling in Sydney.
“There’s no rush, no rush at all,” she said.
Other veterans of the modelling industry have also criticised the decision to go nude. Jacqui Morris, director of Cameron’s model agency in Melbourne, said she discouraged girls from taking up such assignments until they were 18.
“It’s unnecessary for a 16-year-old to be doing nude shoots. If it was one of our girls, we wouldn’t support or encourage them to take up that sort of work. They’re not old enough, they’re not mature enough.”
Stephen Bucknall, who has been involved with the modelling industry for 30 years, first as a nude model and now as director of FRM Model Management, said the appropriateness of a nude shoot depended on the product.
“If it was a high-profile shoot for a luxury brand – Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Prada, a fragrance – I wouldn’t see it as damaging to the model’s career. A surfing magazine? I don’t think it’s necessary and I don’t agree,” he said.
However, academics and media experts say that too much fuss is being made over Ella’s photographs.
“As a 16-year-old, she is at the age of consent and we need to just get over this sense of moral panic about the body … It’s something to be celebrated rather than feared,” said Fiona Giles, senior lecturer in media and communications at the University of Sydney.
“If they’re considered mature enough to make decisions about whether or not they want to have sex, it implies they can give permission about how images of their body are used,” she said.
“If she was looked after in the shoot itself, if it was consensual, if she wasn’t being exploited, as long as she was advised adequately, then I think we should be less concerned about the display of nudity,” said Dr Giles, adding that she had not seen the full cover image.
Media and communications lecturer Marc Brennan, also from the University of Sydney, said the controversy was an example of how women’s bodies were over-protected in popular culture.
“Young women’s bodies are the most policed in society and unfortunately what I think is happening here is that we’re seeing a young woman being categorised as a vulnerable child,” Dr Brennan said.
“She’s not a child.”
He added that if a 16-year-old boy had posed in a similar manner “no one would think twice about it”.
Another issue being ignored, Dr Brennan said, was the intended audience for the photographs.
“Who is the demographic for this magazine? I don’t think it’s meant necessarily for people in their 40s,” Dr Brennan said.
“I mean, the only person who should be leering at a 16-year-old, as far as I’m concerned, is another 16-year-old and maybe that’s something else we need to consider here.”
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