Dior takes teen from rags to riches
“You can quit your job, mum.”
This is how 14-year-old Sofia Mechetner – who grew up poor in a run-down council flat in Tel Aviv, Israel – responded when she learnt that she had secured a R3.3 million, two-year modelling contract with luxury French fashion brand Dior.
Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper reports that the teen had no modelling experience when she was taken to Paris by an Israeli-based modelling agent.
Mechetner’s single mother, a Russian immigrant, made a living as a domestic worker and carer. Sofia took care of her younger siblings and also helped her mother with her various jobs. She shared a bed with her brother and sister, sleeping on a mattress on the floor when the bed broke.
Now, in a classic rags-to-riches tale, she shares the catwalk with some of the world’s top models. The youngster caused outrage when she appeared on the Paris catwalk recently in a see-through white gown that revealed her body and breasts. Some have dubbed her employment in the fashion world as exploitation. But her agent, Roberto Ben Shoshan, came to her defence, insisting that she is always accompanied by a chaperone when she is on modelling assignments.
Sofia has given all the money to her mother. “We will move into a bigger flat, and at least I’ll have a room of my own, a big living room, a nice kitchen and a clean bath,” she said.