A lithe, African American beauty struts her stuff for the camera, breasts loosely draped in a sexy black bandeau fastened with a Mercedes Benz hood ornament. The headline reads, ?At age of 12, she?s already a natural on the runway.? The L.A. Times reporter notes that ?tween model Gerren Taylor ?still plays with Barbie dolls,? missing the irony that the child she describes as ?5 feet, 10 inches, with full lips and rounded hips,? has become one.
In the modeling world Gerren is a child prodigy?the Bobby Fischer of dress-up. ?She came in [bubbly] and fresh and she could walk like a supermodel,? says fashion designer Lotta Stennson. Richard Tyler designer Kevin Hays speaks of his muse with an awe and wonderment once reserved exclusively for Mozart: ?When putting Gerren into her looks, we make sure to [protect] her innocence while taking advantage of her prowess on the runway.?
Not only is Gerren Taylor a veritable Fashion Week vixen?according to booking agent Crista Klayman, ?she?s a novelty,? to boot. There are, however, some designers who refuse to book her. ?I?ve tried to hide her age from my clients, because it sounds like you?re sending someone with braces and bobby socks,? Klayman explains.
No, it sounds like you?re exploiting the ambitions of an innocent little girl. It is a child?s prerogative to aspire to be the next Tyra Banks. It is an adult?s responsibility to tell her ?no.? Gerren?s mother, Michelle Taylor, concedes that she?s trying to ?maintain her childhood, because there are so many young stars [who] are messed up because they never had one.? For the time being, Gerren still models in her native California, but won?t be allowed to move to New York to pursue her dream. ?When she?s 14, if she still wants to go, she can try it,? her mother asserts.
Perhaps it?s not the child these grownups can?t refuse, but rather, the bankroll that she generates.