With the ongoing debate about how young is too young to start modeling, it’s no surprise that newcomer Sofia Mechetner has ruffled some feathers. At 14, her first modeling gig was opening Dior’s fall/winter show last spring, which was all thanks to her being discovered by Raf Simons while she happened to be in the same Dior shop as the designer (yes, really).
People are labeling Sofia’s quick transformation from regular teen to model as a rags to riches story and with good reason. Growing up in poverty in a town outside of Tel Aviv, Israel, she lived in an apartment with her mother, who worked three jobs, and shared a room with her two siblings. When she signed on to become the face of Dior, her contract was for over $200,000—and she immediately handed over the check to her family.
In the Dior show, Sofia wore a long sheer dress, naturally sparking some outrage once people learned her age. All over the internet, from the media to the commenters, people are claiming that she’s too young to be a high fashion model. Despite this, her runway appearance is on the homepage of Dior’s website and it appears she plans on sticking with the luxury house. Since models like Karlie Kloss and Kate Moss have said they were too young when they started modeling, measures have been taken to protect young girls in the industry. Vogue won’t use models under 16, and New York state passed a law enforcing stricter age guidelines for runway models—though, there are loopholes.
With all the loud criticisms surrounding Sofia, it’s been noticeably quieter toward Lily Rose-Depp, Johnny Depp’s daughter, who’s 16 and the new face of Chanel, and Cindy Crawford’s daughter, 13-year-old Kaia Gerber who recently posed for Italian Vogue.
Whether or not the criticism is founded has yet to be seen. But with all the talk surrounding Sofia's age and her role as Dior’s in-house model, it seems likely that the brand will be extra conscious of doing anything that seems even a slightly inappropriate.