A controversy has erupted in the fashion and modelling world in Australia as a 16 year old model, Zippora Seven, has been published on an 18 page spread in Russh magazine. She models in the spread alongside 16-year-old male model Levi Clarke.
This controversy raises an interesting aspect about the modeling and fashion industry. Many models that walk up and down the world's fashion catwalks are young, and a high percentage of them are under 18. It's just a "normal" for the industry. Photographers shoot these models walking up and down, a few times with garments barely hanging on. Yes there is nudity in this Russh photoshoot with Zippora Seven. But you've got to take it within context. The images are not erotic. They aren't sexual. They just are. They aren't targetted to the pornographic market but the fashion industry where this sort of thing is the norm. But then again she is a minor and she isn't mature enough to make "proper" decisions even though she may feel like she can. So is this a case of "yep, its art, not porno" excuse or "she's underage full stop".
The photoshoot spread was photographed in March, one of the images depicts the Seven and Clarke sharing a bubble bath nude with Seven topless and Clarke's eyes closed as if he is passed out. A spokesperson for the Australian Classification Board said: "I can advise that the board has contacted the publisher of Russh Australia." Seven's Australian agent, Priscilla Leighton-Clark, said the photo shoot had gone too far. The Classifications Act prohibits the depiction of nudity and sexual activity of minors under 18.
Russh editor Natalie Shukur defended the Seven shoot, which was inspired by supermodel Kate Moss and actor Johnny Depp when they dated. "We believe Russh readers 'get it' in this narrative story," she said. "These are beautiful images of two young people in character." Russh is marketed towards fashion-minded 18 to 35-year-olds with almost equal readership of males and females.
It was Zippora Seven's second shoot with Russh this year. She appeared in the March issue topless while riding a horse. In NZ, Seven is represented by Red11 agency and her mother, Ursula, is heavily involved in her career. In Australia, she is represented by Priscilla's Model Management, an agency that has a long-standing reputation for being extremely protective of its models. "I can't be on every shoot," Ms Leighton-Clark said. "Had I known it was to be a topless shoot, (Seven) would never have done it."
Zippora Seven's controversial Russh photos
A New Zealand modelling agency says it supports the decision of of one of its 16-year-old models to appear topless in an Australian magazine.
Auckland model Zippora Seven - described as New Zealand's answer to Kate Moss - is shown topless in a bath in one of photos in the 18-page spread from lifestyle and fashion magazine Russh Australia.
The picture shows Zippora and 16-year-old male model Levi Clarke in the bath together, with four bottles of champagne also visible. In another, Zippora is again topless while riding a horse.
Earlier reports said modelling agency Red Eleven - which manages Zippora - had been shocked and disappointed with the pictures.
But Amanda Betts, a Red Eleven director who discovered Zippora said the agency was surprised, but not disappointed with the topless pictures.
"That's a misquote. I think it's a really beautiful shoot - I love Russh. But that's my personal opinion, which I really want to keep to myself," she said.
She said all the models Red Eleven represented were taught to research each proposed photo shoot, and to discuss the details with family members.