The fashion industry has been repeatedly slammed for hiring young girls as models. Critics say this makes them more vulnerable to exploitation, and creates an unrealistic standard of beauty and thinness for the rest of us. But, here's the thing: A lot of models actually aren't that young. Or, at least, not as young as their agencies would like you to believe... Agencies routinely shave 3, 4, or even 5 or 6 years off the ages of their models, ostensibly to allow them to work longer. In an extreme example, Irina Lazareanu has been reported by magazines to be anywhere from 19 to 27. Our guess? 25. We remember one summer, when a good friend was modeling for a major agency - and though we celebrated her 23rd birthday, her clients knew her as 19. Why do you think the industry does this? Do younger models have more authority on trends by virtue of their age? Does a 21 year old's style automatically read as cooler than a 24 year old's? Maybe the lying agencies are doing us a favor: We can all feel better thinking that the reason we don't look like the girl in the Burberry ad is because she's younger than we are...even if she's really not.
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