Meet Kristina, a 12-year-old girl who has been given the title the “most beautiful girl in the world.” Hmmm… Do you think she should put that on her work résumé? It would probably get her the job – except – something tells us she doesn’t need one. That is because ever since Kristina Pimenova started modeling at the mere age of four, she has been slowly but surely turning into one of the most sought after young ladies in the modeling agency.
Yes, that’s right. We have a 12-year-old supermodel on our hands, everyone. And how do we feel about that? Perhaps it’s not up to us – perhaps it’s more up to the millions of followers she has on Facebook and Instagram. After all, when looking at her pictures, it is clear why she has become so popular. She was simply gifted with angelic facial features that are too hard to ignore. It is clear that her beauty goes beyond the every day.
And yet… we can’t help but wonder if there is something innately wrong with this scenario. Let us explain.
Kristina certainly has an insanely large fanbase – but there are people around the world who have a lot of trouble understanding how her parents could allow her to model at such a young age. They don’t believe it’s appropriate for someone so young too be so exposed to the public.
In many people’s eyes, there is a certain seductive quality that the modeling industry expects from its stars, and certain people believe that it isn’t right for young children to be expected to uphold to these standards of tone. This is not a knock on Kristina – these people believe her parents shouldn’t have allowed her to start modeling. But her parents have their own reasons for doing so – especially her mother, Glikeriya, who is a large force behind Kristina’s modeling career.
In this story, there are many different viewpoints one might take, and perhaps you are also one of those who don’t think Kristina should be modeling at such a young age. But after you read her mother’s point of view on the matter, you may change your opinion. In any case, Glikeriya maintains that she has her daughter’s best interests at heart. Read the whole story, and you’ll find out why.
A roll of the genetic dice
Okay, we get it… This girl is incredibly beautiful, with genes that have clearly grabbed the attention of the mass public. And yes, we have heard stories that she is an athlete, and very personable, and all other kinds of good stuff we all love – but we can’t help but wonder if the majority of her fame is due to her astounding good looks. As you look at her pictures, one by one, you can’t help but be taken in by her undeniable beauty.
Pretty as a picture
In fact, when carefully observing her pictures, you may even wonder if there is a scientific explanation to her beauty. Sure, she may have beauty on the inside, but… this girl has that rare kind of aesthetic appeal that can be truly titled as that of a “classic” beauty. Just ask her two million Instagram followers. From the moment Kristina Pimenova was born, she has been sought after and looked upon, and all we want to do is learn more about her story.
Where it all began
To truly understand this story a little bit more, we have to go back to where it all started – when Kristina was born. Her mother Glikeriya was living in France when she was expecting her, and they lived there because her husband was a football player playing for the FC Metz. Imagine that you’re about to become a mother for the first time: there are so many thoughts are going through your head, none of which likely involve your future baby becoming a supermodel.
The pregnancy and birth
Even though she was living in France at the time, Glikeriya felt inclined to be in Russia for the birth of her child, so she flew to Moscow and returned to France after Kristina was born. Glikeriya and Ruslan, Kristina’s father, had no idea the amount of attention her daughter was about to get, or that years later, her daughter would be considered by some to be a child icon, as well as the center of much controversy.
The Pimenova family lived in France until Kristina turned three – at which time they learned a lot about the way people perceived her. During the first three years of her life, everyone who met the little toddler gave her enormous loads of attention – and this was before she had even started modeling! One can’t help but wonder if these years were crucial in the shaping of Kristina’s perception of herself, particularly when it came to her developing sense of self worth.
Glikeriya, Kristina’s mother, relays that everywhere they went, people would surround Kristina and continue to repeat comments such as “such a sweet child” or “look at her.” And while toddlers are generally more likely to receive gushing attention from people than adults, her mother Glikeriya recalls the amount that Kristina received was way off the charts. Being at the center of attention was all Kristina knew of the world, and as such, it probably wasn’t much of a shock to her when her beauty was eventually streamlined into a career.
Good for her?
There is an old saying that at some point in all of our lives, we each receive our own “15 minutes of fame.” Perhaps this is true – at the end of the day, we all have our moments in the sun – and we appreciate them when they occur, because we’re not used to experiencing it all the time, and it is this balance between public admiration and personal introspection that keeps us humble. How good can it be for a child, if all they ever know is people giving them large amounts of attention?
Moderation is key
How much attention is enough for us as a society to step back and say, “This child shouldn’t be under the spotlight.” Perhaps the spotlight is okay, as long as there is some moderation, and when the child is given opportunities to discover other traits and sources of pride, so that not all of their identity is derived from the way they look? These questions were all about to become quite relevant for Kristina and her parents, as a change was about to enter her life.
It turns out that Kristina was in fact pretty happy with all of the attention she was getting. But then something strange happened – after the Pimenova family moved back to Russia when Kristina was three, the attention she received began to subside. Perhaps it had something to do with her features being more prevalent among the Slavic (an ethnicity common throughout Russian) – but in any case, Kristina noticed, and it was a bit of a shock for her.
Glikeriya even relays an incident that occurred after they had moved to Russia, regarding the change in perception. She tells that she was pushing Kristina in a stroller, walking around town, and her child kept smiling at people, hoping to get a reaction – but no one seemed to care. After realizing she was not receiving the attention she was used to, little Kristina turned to her mother with an expression of pure shock on her face, as if to ask – “What’s going on here?”
Perhaps it would be prudent to take a step back from this story, just for a quick moment, and try to decipher what is was happening. From her mother’s accounts, it seemed like Kristina was so accustomed to receiving constant, positive feedback from people, that when she encountered a few folks who didn’t so much as bat an eyelash at her – it shocked her. We’re not sure what we would do if we were faced with a child of ours who struggled to regain their sense of worth, after being led to believe that it lay in their appearance.
Raising the stakes
For instance, a few people on the street here and there is one thing – but what about when you are a fashion icon – and you’re too young to understand why? What about when you have two million followers on Instagram? This is the definition of the stakes getting raised: for what if – just like it happened when she was passed by while in her stroller – all of her social media followers would stop paying her attention?
This is not to say that the fault is on Kristina – she is a mere 12 years old! She is so young, and she is not supposed to know what she wants in life – she is not supposed to understand what the model industry is like – the idealized imagery, the promotion of unrealistic body measurements, the use of photoshopped visuals. She is too young to understand the future impacts that these experiences may have on her – and the amount of pressure she may grow accustomed to feeling underneath them.
Question her parents
In assessing Kristina’s situation, it should be noted that for better or worse, her mother was there with her, hopefully providing her with parental support, while also allowing her to be set up in modeling scenarios that may not have been age-appropriate. Glikeriya – herself a former model – is the one who was calling the shots, and pulling the initial strings of her daughter’s career – or as least that is how it was in the beginning.
All that being said, it’s important to understand not just Kristina’s apparent wish to be seen and admired by the people around her, but also the reasons for her mother eventually deciding to bring her into the world of modeling. The truth, as we’re about to see, is more complex than a one-sided opinion, either for or against, could ever encompass. And so, despite Kristina’s obvious beauty on the one hand and her extremely young age on the other, let’s take a breath and hear some more from her mother.
We return to our story, where last we checked, Kristina was “ignored” in the park, after being used to getting a great deal of attention. Faced with her daughter’s shocked expression, Glikeriya, who was already thinking of signing her three-year-old child with a modeling agency, decided to give it a go. After finding an agency that seemed suitable for Kristina, Glikeriya sent them a bunch of pictures of her daughter, and then nervously waited to hear their response.
As it turns out, the modeling agency loved Kristina! Immediately after receiving the pictures, they invited the family over for a chat, and soon after added Kristina to their roster. Her first photoshoot happened right before she turned four, and by the time she was four, Kristina had her own portfolio. This was where it all started for her – with her angelic features, gorgeous smile, and her photogenic posing, her popularity soared, and her rise to supermodel status began.
Even as early as the age of four, the signs of the success that she would ultimately have were already starting to show themselves. Her popularity would only grow over time, but there were already many tell-tale signs of what was to come. Her career began to thrive, and her image was all of the sudden demanded in Russia, her hometown, as well as places all around the world – and this was just the beginning. It was the early growth of her fanbase – and of course, the public scrutiny.
The most beautiful of them all
From the very beginning, there were those who criticized having such a young girl involved in the world of modeling, which is not known for its nurturing and sensitivity. Regardless, though, Kristina’s fame continued to grow, and by the time she was nine years old, she was known around the world as “the most beautiful girl in the world.” Talk about dealing with pressure – this little girl wasn’t yet a teenager, and already she was looked upon to maintain people’s idea of perfection.
Social media star
As the years went by, her popularity only grew, without showing any signs of slowing down. Her modern social media platforms were a big part of her international rise to success: she currently has 4.4 million followers on Facebook, and 2 million followers on her Instagram account. That is quite a large following for anyone – let alone a 12-year-old girl! But her momma, Glikeriya, is making sure that the fame doesn’t get to her head.
A budding acting career
In addition to her success as a model, Kristina also began to harness her talents within other areas of the entertainment industry – such as acting. Not only did she express a desire to become an actress, but she has said that she wants to becoming a film director too. If acting is really what she wants, she’s off to a good start – she has already been cast to star in an upcoming Russian horror film, called The Russian Bride.
From an outsider’s perspective, Glikeriya may seem like an irresponsible parent, but wait till you hear how much she cares about the well-being of her daughter, Kristina. Glikeriya was very eager to dispel accusations that some of her daughter’s photos were too suggestive for her age, and she didn’t appreciate how people were judging her as a parent. She wanted to share with the public what her family’s day-to-day life is like, thinking that perhaps this would help add some normalcy to the situation.
The first aspect that Glikeriya decided to share was the details of Kristina’s everyday hobbies. She explained that Kristina is actually very into sports, and is a very active athlete. In fact, Kristina is a very talented rhythmic gymnast, and has even taken part in the Alina Gymnastics Competition in Tatarstan, an event upheld by gold medal winner Alina Kabaeva. Kristina goes to school every day, after which she spends roughly four hours per day practicing gymnastics.
Glikeriya goes on to say that for Kristina, modeling is actually a distraction for her from the other aspects of her life, such as the rigorous structure of school and gymnastics. For her, every photoshoot Kristina has is like an adventure, and a relief from her daily grind. Already, we are gaining new insights into this story: On one hand, we have a public who sees a little girl as a child icon; and on the other hand, we have a girl who has hobbies, and a fun side-job.
Sociable and charismatic
In the eyes of the Pimenova family, Kristina’s modeling is an opportunity for her to explore new places, and become a cultured young lady. Kristina meets people and cultures from all over, she tries on interesting new clothes, and is soaking it all in. According to her mother, Kristina is also very professional with her photographers: She loves to communicate with them and try to bring out the vision that they have. Glikeriya says that she is very open-hearted and easy to talk to.
More than just looks
She goes on to say that Kristina’s charisma is a big part of the reason she has become so successful. For if she had been a shy child who was nervous in front of a camera, she would never have gotten anywhere. Glikeriya reasons that although her daughter is certainly very pretty, a “pretty face is not everything in this business.” And indeed she is correct. But while there is a lot of truth to that statement, Kristina’s looks are a big part of her success.
The big questions
Which brings us back to the main issue, and the main grunt of the matter. The big moral questions we’ve been asking ourselves this whole time: Is Kristina too young to be modeling? Is it inappropriate for people all over the world to be looking at her pictures? And finally, will it have a negative long-lasting psychological effect on her? Glikeriya says she has answers to all of these questions – and when you hear what she has to say, you may think find your original opinion has changed.
To the question regarding whether or not it’s appropriate for people to be looking at pictures of Kristina… Hecklers from all across the world have criticized Kristina’s parents for allowing their daughter to model, saying that her poses are seductive, or too mature for her age. Glikeriya’s response? She says that anyone who feels provoked from her daughter’s pictures needs to “see a doctor.” In her mind, there is nothing inappropriate about her daughter’s pictures, and they are totally innocent.
And regarding the question about whether or not Kristina’s modeling career will have long-lasting psychological effects on her – we suppose it’s important to note that every experience we go through in life influences us. But after diving into Kristina’s story, and hearing how much Glikeriya cares about her, we are a bit more reassured that Kristina is looked after by her mother. Indeed, Glikeriya doesn’t even allow her daughter to log on to her own account, protecting her from online hecklers.
In addition to the protection of online hecklers and slandering articles, Glikeriya is also determined to make sure that Kristina doesn’t participate in any other media related affairs. She believes they are unhealthy, and she doesn’t want Kristina to become “vain and too full of herself.” She wants her daughter remain kind and good-hearted; and if fame continues to grow, she wants her daughter to always be grateful, and consider people who are less fortunate than her. Way to go, mom!