Who is This Girl?
You may know her face, but her name? Thylane Blondeau. She has taken over the fashion world, but she isn’t going to stop there. Much of her passion comes from the fact that she was just four years old when she started her modeling career (and she’s already turned it into something amazing)!
That being said, it didn’t happen overnight, and Thylane Blondeau has dealt with a lot of adversity during her short, short lifetime. In fact, her entire career is something that the lawmakers in France have discussed in length. It has even caused some laws to be released, but how?
Soccer Star Patrick Blondeau
We have to start at the beginning. Specifically, how Thylane Blondeau was basically a superstar from the very beginning thanks to her parents. Her father was none other than international Soccer genius Patrick Blondeau. Not only is Patrick Blondeau a player, he’s also been team captain for both the British Premiere League and the French Ligue 1.
He decided to pull back from playing so that he could become a father to his beautiful child, but don’t count him out. He’s still working toward advancing his career in the sport by coaching teams instead of actively playing. He’s definitely got a lot to teach!
Model Extraordinaire Veronika Loubry
Then there’s Thylane’s mother. She’s a huge star just like her husband. She was discovered as a waitress at the young age of 20, so we’re going to guess that Veronika is where Thylane gets a lot of her looks from! At that point, the world was her oyster. She could do whatever she wanted.
Thanks to that, she was able to slyly make her way into TV. Producer Dominique Cantien was the one who discovered her, so she began her career as a TV personality through France 5 – a huge TV station in the country. She loved it, so that was where she focused most of her attention.
Veronika Couldn’t Be Stopped
She began hosting on other networks, but she wanted something more. She moved on to doing a French sitcom called Paradis d’enfer in 1997. She also participated in the reality TV show La Ferme Celebrities, which is sort of like the French version of Big Brother. Clearly, the country loved her.
However, she was looking for another opportunity, which is when she transitioned into making children’s clothing. She would also be a photographer, which is really what helped her daughter become as famous as she is today. She also took the brunt of the backlash from the consequences of said fame.
Thylane Started Modeling
Thylane Blondeau was destined for big things at a young age. As mentioned before, she began modeling when she was just four years old. How? Well, it turns out that France didn’t really have strict rules as far as runway models were concerned. That meant Thylane could walk with the big wigs showing off some of the best fashion in the world.
As a toddler, she was able to walk alongside models who had already made a name for themselves while wearing renowned clothing from Jean Paul Gaultier. Gaultier is unconventional as far as French fashion is concerned, but his designs have graced the French runway for decades at this point.
Her First Professional Photoshoot
There was something that caught Jean Paul Gaultier’s eye, so he began to employ Thylane Blondeau. That meant she needed a professional photographer. Enter Dani Brubaker. Brubaker is one of the world’s most famous photographers, so saying that Thylane had the best of the best was an understatement.
One thing that’s important to mention is that Thylane was just seven years old when this all started to happen. Her first real photoshoot at just seven! Many people were looking at this in a concerning manner, but nothing was happening just yet. Three years later, she got a huge opportunity.
At 10, Blondeau got an opportunity some models can only dream about – being on Vogue. Not only was she on the magazine cover itself, but she was also on the cover of the internationally known magazine. Vogue came out with an edition that purely emphasized the beauty of children.
Looking back now, the problems with that are pretty obvious. At the time, her parents thought it was purely innocent. It wouldn’t stay that way. After Thylane’s parents accepted the job for her on the Vogue Paris children’s issue, people began to speak up about the nature of the photographs.
Problems in Paradise
Following her appearance in the Vogue Paris children’s issue, people started to criticize how this 10-year-old child appeared. The poses were more mature in nature, and in some instances, she was in very adult clothing that showed a lot of skin for a child. These complaints didn’t fall on deaf ears.
It created a national dispute that caused ripples all over France. Why were the media over-sexualizing minors in advertising and media? Why was there a 10-year-old child dressed as an adult in such a provocative manner? There were just too many questions that needed to be answered.
Not only was it a huge deal in France – and understandably so – it spread to other countries as well. Why weren’t there weren't laws to protect the most vulnerable people in our society against those who would use them to sell a magazine or promote a product? This debate was heard all over Europe.
It didn’t stop there, either. This debate made its way to the United States. A psychologist, Emma Grey, was quoted as saying, “This picture is the antithesis of what childhood in our society should be; a child being exposed to a world she is not yet equipped to deal with solely to serve the needs of the adults around her.”
Declining Modeling Jobs
A decision needed to be made by Thylane Blondeau’s parents. Would they keep allowing their baby girl to continue her modeling jobs in the face of all this controversy? Thylane’s mother could see where the comments were coming from, so she began to reject modeling jobs for her young girl.
The problem was that Veronika was in deep with the fashion industry, so it meant she had to step back herself. At the end of the day, she decided that she wasn’t going to sacrifice her daughter (and her childhood) for the industry she loved. She wanted Thylane to have a normal life as any kid would.
Vogue Photos Still Out There
The only problem was that the Vogue photos were still out there. They were still the subject of many heated debates. Sure, no new photos would be snapped, but what about the ones that were already in the media? Well, Veronika wasn’t so upset about that because it was already done, and there was no pulling it back.
People began to criticize her, asking how she allowed her daughter to participate in the advertising campaign in the first place. Veronika was asked by a French newspaper, and she responded, “I admit I myself was shocked during the photoshoot. But let me be precise: the only thing that shocked me is that the necklace she wore was worth €3 million!”
Years Later, Instagram Came Calling
Thylane Blondeau began to grow older, and like most teenagers nowadays, she got into Instagram. It was a way for her to expand her modeling career without taking pictures with a professional photographer and being tied to a magazine. She also had the freedom to post whatever she wanted.
As a teenager, she began posting frequently on her Instagram, and the followers poured in. This began to breathe life back into a career she was directed to leave years ago. As the numbers added up, the possibility to make her way back into the fashion world became a real possibility.
Agents Came Calling
Because she focused on amassing a large Instagram following, her teenage years weren’t quite normal either. This meant she was potentially losing out on both her childhood and her adolescence. There was just no way to have a normal life when her beauty was the focus of millions of peoples’ eyes.
By the age of 14 – just four years after the Vogue Paris enfants issue – agents started pouring in once again. Thylane Blondeau was impressing the world with her modeling prowess. While there were many that wanted to sign her, the one that had the honor was IMG Models, an internationally known agency.
Joining IMG Models meant that she was throwing away any chance she had at a normal childhood and adolescence. Modeling at a young age can be very, very difficult. That’s something anyone in the industry will tell you, so it makes you wonder if she was truly happy with the direction she was taking.
In 2015, Teen Vogue asked her that very question. The answer? She said she really enjoys the life she’s building. She stated, “My favorite part of the job is meeting new photographers and makeup artists. I love to try on the clothes, too!” Then again, she was talking to the very magazine that launched her career and is a titan in the industry.
Kate Moss and Thylane
The question of young models was brought up to her, and she basically scoffed off the idea that a person had to have a young childhood. Other magazines focused on the fact that she started modeling so young, and her response was clear. “Well, Kate Moss started modeling at the age of 15.”
The only difference was that she was only seven when she began modeling! Professionally, she was in Vogue at 10 – much younger than Kate Moss. She went on to say, “No. I’m not too young. If you have a good agency and people who take care of you… it’s perfect.”
Expanding Her Skills
This same year, 2015, was when Thylane decided that she wanted to expand her skills. What else could the most beautiful person in the world do? Um, act! She wanted to branch off into the entertainment industry by making TV shows and possibly even a movie or two.
Thylane began going to auditions to appear in movies and TV shows, and she finally landed an amazing chance to be in a film! The movie she received was a sequel to a French film called Belle & Sebastien: The Adventure Continues, which was released to pretty decent ratings when it came out in 2015.
Life Changing Events
Thylane Blondeau’s life was filled with tons of life-changing events. Born in 2007, the Blondeau family expanded! At the age of five, she became a big sister to her brother Ayrton-Romero Blondeau. Thankfully, this was before she gained massive popularity by appearing in the Vogue issue.
This meant she really had the chance to be an older sister to her younger brother, and that’s something she took very seriously. Thylane and Ayrton get along very well, and she wants to protect him, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t support him when it comes to modeling as well.
Being a Big Sister
Despite all the controversies she faced as a very young child, Thylane supported her brother as he showed interest in modeling and the fashion industry. She was certainly good at it and knew the ins and outs of it all! She’d been a professional for ages, so she could direct Ayrton.
At the end of the day, Ayrton-Romero Blondeau wasn’t as interested as his sister. He did a few photoshoots as a child, but he ended up choosing not to stand in the limelight. It’s certainly difficult to give up your childhood in favor of international photoshoots and fashion shows. Some would say this is for the better, as he was also a child.
Traveling all over the place is hard on anyone, but Thylane loves putting in the work. Working a lot just became natural for her, and that meant going to countries all over the world. Even though there was a lot of controversies, she appeared in more magazines, including Jalouse at the age of 13.
Basically, Thylane decided nothing was going to stop her, but that didn’t mean that there was something more lurking behind the industry. Something had to change in the industry where children as young as seven didn’t have to strut down the runway when they should be starting grade school.
Now that she was older, the most beautiful girl in the world really could enjoy the parks that came with such fame. She was able to meet celebrities, and she adopted the theory of “work hard, play hard.” It was a motto she began to live by.
She put in long hours, but she got to meet people teenagers could only dream of meeting. She got to have lunch with people like Kanye West, but that’s not all! She got to meet people in the industry that have gained fame overseas like Gigi Hadid.
Older Sister Gigi Hadid
If Kanye West doesn’t impress you, does Gigi Hadid? Talk about famous! Gigi Hadid has been labeled the “International Model of the Year” by the British Fashion Council, and she’s just 24 years old. Because the two are so close, many consider that Gigi Hadid is Thylane’s older sister at this point (by another mother, of course).
The two hit it off as they both started modeling young. It helped that IMG Models, Thylane’s long-time model agency, also signed Gigi Hadid in 2013. Because Hadid started earlier than Thylane, she was able to impart some very crucial advice that would help guide a young girl in the industry.
School Still Important
Was it hard for her to balance school and modeling? Absolutely, but it was very difficult for her to juggle. School was absolutely essential, but depending on what she was doing, she wasn’t able to be in class like the average kid would. That could impact her quite a bit in the future, and we won’t know until then.
In 2016, she was specifically asked how she was doing balancing work and school. Directly after Paris Fashion Week, an interviewer from W Magazine asked her what her plan was for the rest of the evening, and Thylane responded, “Going home to get some rest and going to school.” This was even more telling that something had to change for children working. Would it, though?
L’Oreal Stepping In
Going back to school is all well and good, but that doesn’t mean it was her main focus. Less than a year later, brands started reaching out to her so that she could be the face of their product – something that was bound to happen when she got a little older. The one that reached out to her first was L’Oreal.
Right on her 16th birthday, the brand ambassador for L’Oreal reached out to her and asked for her to be a “Lorealista.” Naturally, Thylane was more than happy to accept, and this made her the youngest Lorealista in the history of the brand! That’s something to be proud of.
From there, other brands started reaching out. It wasn’t even a year later that she shot even further into superstardom and started representing Dolce & Gabbana. In fact, she represented Dolce & Gabbana at some of the biggest fashion shows, which introduced her to a world of even bigger stars.
She began co-starring in several campaigns with models like Lucky Blue, IMG Model Presley Gerber, and even Zendaya. Just like when she was 10, 16-year-old Thylane Blondeau was thrust into the world of fashion, and everyone had their eye on her. The problem was, she was still very much a child.
Most Beautiful Faces
That didn’t stop her from literally becoming the most beautiful faces in the world. Before this girl even had the right to vote, she was added to the “Independent Critics List of the 100 Most Beautiful Faces of 2017.” That wasn’t even the first time, either! Thylane was regularly on this list, but not to this caliber.
This was the third time she’d made the top 10 most beautiful faces. Before that, she ranked 28th in 2015, and in 2014, she was 84th. Something many people made note of was that she was just 13 years old when she raked on this list for the first time. Problematic? Absolutely.
Going to Heaven
Thylane wanted to follow in her mother’s footsteps. She didn’t just want to be a model. She wanted to be something more, so she began working on fashion. That was when she thought of creating her own brand. So far, her life had been moving so fast that she hadn’t had time to think about what she wanted.
On top of modeling and acting, Thylane began working on her brand “Heaven May.” She has high hopes for the brand, and she wants to focus on providing fashion for those her age. She also hopes to be a trendsetter, something she’s very comfortable with at this point.
Heaven May’s Vision
The brand was something she’d been dreaming of for a while, and it didn’t happen overnight. It took long hours, but she never lost sight of her goal. She stated that she wanted Heaven May to be the next big thing, and she’s devoting quite a bit of her time toward it while putting modeling on the backburner.
Of course, those two things go hand in hand. Thylane stated, “I’ve been dreaming of launching my own brand for a really long time. I hope Heaven May will give my community the empowerment and self-confidence we’re all looking for.” So far, the clothing looks pretty amazing, and there are several famous names attached to it.
Over the years, Thylane Blondeau somehow managed to graduate from high school – but it wasn’t easy. Everyone got to see her life play out on her Instagram, which has now amassed over five million followers. This makes her one of the most influential Instagram influencers out there.
As her fanbase grows, we’re all reminded of what started all of this: the issue of children in advertising and media. Managing her Instagram account is a daily thing that takes a lot of time. Then, she still has to model and focus on her clothing brand. At 18, she already had a blossoming career…and maybe a little burnout?
France Legal Changes
Thylane Blondeau and children influencers are growing in popularity. France decided that it was time to make some changes legally to prevent children from being used. In an attempt to curb the issue, France passed a law that would change the way children are paid, but it did nothing to protect children on the internet.
The law designates a bank account for children that only they can access when they turn 16. In addition to that, France is also paving the way by creating the “right to be forgotten” law. This means that if a child requests that their account be deleted, the platform must do so without issue.
Where is She Now?
Thylane Blondeau changed the world in more ways than one. With her modeling at just seven years old, she helped France see that media and advertising had to change. How did that affect her life? Very little. She’s an adult at this point, and modeling has taken front and center once again.
Her health has been somewhat of a concern, having had surgery in 2021 for ovarian cysts, but even that didn’t slow her down. She updates her Instagram frequently, and still models for some of the biggest brands out there. Heaven May is also a huge part of her life, and that’s something she is looking forward to expanding.
(Image via Jacopo Raule/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images; Instagram)