Controversial Young Model Ondria Hardin Lands Chanel Campaign

Karl Lagerfeld is shooting Chanel's spring 2013 campaign here in the big apple--and he's cast familiar face Stella Tennant (who fronted Chanel's fall 2012 campaign) as well as fresh face Ondria Hardin, WWD is reporting. But while Hardin may be new to the fashion industry, her name already has considerable buzz around it--and not necessarily the good kind.
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Karl Lagerfeld is shooting Chanel's spring 2013 campaign here in the big apple--and he's cast familiar face Stella Tennant (who fronted Chanel's fall 2012 campaign) as well as fresh face Ondria Hardin, WWD is reporting. But while Hardin may be new to the fashion industry, her name already has considerable buzz around it--and not necessarily the good kind.
Photo: Getty

Photo: Getty

Karl Lagerfeld is shooting Chanel's spring 2013 campaign here in the big apple--and he's cast familiar face Stella Tennant (who fronted Chanel's fall 2012 campaign) as well as fresh face Ondria Hardin, WWD is reporting.

But while Hardin may be new to the fashion industry, her name already has considerable buzz around it--and not necessarily the good kind. Hardin first made headlines this past February when she walked in Marc Jacobs' show. She was reported to be 14 at the time, therefore breaking the CFDA's newly implemented Health Initiative, which stipulated that all models had to be at least 16 to walk the runway.

Eight months later, Hardin was back in the news--this time after we called Vogue China out for using the underage model in their August issue. While it was difficult to pin down an exact age for Hardin (several have been reported and Hardin's agent told us she was 16), it seemed likely that she was still under 16 at the time of the shoot, and therefore in violation of Vogue's health initiative. A week later, Vogue China issued an apology for violating the Health Initiative.

While we still don't have an exact birth date for Hardin, it seems probable that the model is either still 15--or that she's only just turned 16. A fact that Lagerfeld (who will also be shooting for Harper's Bazaar and speaking at WWD’s CEO Summit while he's in NYC) is rather untroubled with because, well, she is just so mature, you see.

“She doesn’t look 15," Lagerfeld told the trade. "She looks 18 or 19." But...she's still 15 (or close to it).

WWD says it's "a good thing," Hardin looks older than her years. Well, here's a novel idea: If reporters, designers, and consumers all prefer models who look to be about 18, then why don't we book actual, you know, 18-year-olds?