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At age nine, Russian-born supermodel Kristina Pimenova has achieved what many women in their 20s and 30s long for – she has been named the most beautiful in the world by a reputed fashion magazine. She is undoubtedly a pretty child, but her popularity among adults is stirring up controversies. People are taking offence over her sexualization by ‘fans’ and the idea of referring to her as a ‘woman’.
Born to former footballer Rusian Pimenov and supermodel Gilkeriya Shirokova, Kristina has been modelling since the age of three. The little girl has an impressive portfolio of clients like Vogue, Armani and Dolce & Gabbana.
According to her Facebook page, Kristina got into modelling while accompanying her mom on shoots. “Anywhere her mom would go, people would tell her how adorable Kristina was and tell her to try modelling. Her mom decided to try it out and Kristie soon realised how much fun it was, especially catwalk and fashion shows. She’s been having a blast ever since and is loving every minute of it!”
Some critics have pointed out that Kristina’s professional modelling work isn’t what’s causing the controversy, because she only models children’s clothing and rarely ever wears makeup. It’s only the photos posted on her social media accounts, and the comments they attract, that are generating controversy.
Gilkeriya insists that she runs all of Kristina’s accounts, and that she regularly deletes inappropriate comments. She has stated that the child herself does not post on these websites. The page also declares: “All the content shared on this page should be kid friendly. Any video or pictures posted here that is not appropriate for Kristina’s age will be deleted.”
But according to critics, Kristina’s pictures are attracting pedophiles. The child’s sheer popularity and large number of adult fans is also proving to be quite worrying. She has two million fans on Facebook alone, and almost 400,000 Instagram followers. Most of them post comments of praise, and seem envious of the fact that they will never have her ‘perfect hair’ or ‘angel face’.
“You are prettier than all the girls in my high school and you’re like 10,” an Instagram user wrote. “Look at this little girl I want to be her,” wrote another.
However, some of the comments from adult men are quite disturbing: they’re complimenting her ‘long legs’ and ‘hypnotic eyes’, calling her ‘babe’ and asking if she has plans to become a Victoria’s Secret angel one day.
“There is something very wrong – and creepy – going on when fashion has become so divorced from reality that a flat-chested, prepubescent, hip-less young child is a style icon,” wrote Amber Robertson of parenting website Essential Kids. “I do wonder what messages it sends to young girls, that to be an icon all you have to do is be pretty. When do these little child models get a chance to dress down, hang out with kids their own age and have fun?”
Several Instagram users are now accusing Kristina’s mother of exploiting the young child. “Pedophiles are all over this page,” one commenter wrote. “She’s pimping out her own daughter for personal gain. How sad.”
“She is beautiful but I think kids should live just like kids,” another wrote. “Kids should play, and enjoy their years of innocent.”