This Teen Scored a Modeling Contract at the World Cup — And Lost It Because of a Controversial Photo


The news: Belgian teenager Axelle Despiegelaere was one of the major faces of the World Cup after an exceptionally photogenic shot of her in the crowds in Brazil blew up on the internet. Talk about super good luck — she even won a L'Oreal modeling contract.

She even posted a video to celebrate the news.

Unfortunately, that initially great luck turns out to have had some exceptionally bad timing. Another high-profile woman, hunting enthusiast Kendall Jones, came under controversy this week for posting photos of herself with various dead or tranquilized animals, some endangered. After 60,000 people spoke out, Jones' photos were deleted. While the hunting was totally legal, it looks like Despiegelaere made the same mistake. (Adding to the controversy, she managed to also make a rather milquetoast joke about hunting people.)

Those photos have now been taken down, presumably once someone pointed out that it's really bad optics for your new spokeswoman to have treaded into the exact same controversy that people are still upset about. L'Oreal now appears to have rescinded its offer, or at least cut it short after shooting one video. Buzzfeed reports that Despiegelaere has more or less been dropped.

The lesson? Social media can unexpectedly bite you in the butt, so maybe think things through before blasting them out to the entire internet. But don't necessarily applaud L'Oreal for this move — the company came under fire last year during its expansion into China, which mandates animal testing of cosmetics. Choice believed that subsidiary The Body Shop was making misleading claims about its cruelty-free status, although the company voluntarily pulled its products from Chinese duty-free shops after conceding that the possibility remained that the products would be tested on animals.