Out on the wild plains of the professional hair care and cosmetics modeling world, it’s survival of the fittest. And 17-year-old Axelle Despiegelare, sadly, did not make it (removes hat, bows head).
Our story so far: Belgian soccer fan Despiegelare was spotted in the stands at a World Cup game in Brazil rooting for her team, and Twitter took notice: pictures of her soon went viral in a Katherine Webb kind of way. Cosmetics giant L’Oreal Professionnel also took notice, and signed her to a contract to do a series of instruction hair care YouTube videos.
Then Despiegelare announced on Twitter that she’d signed a modeling contract with the company, and it seemed that a star was born. But then a photo surfaced on Facebook of the teenager posing with a dead gazelle that she had shot on a hunting trip, and that too went viral. And the caption she wrote didn’t help.
Controversy ensued, as they say, because in the cosmetics world, animal abuse issues are very hot coals indeed. After many howls of protest on social media, L’Oreal has broken ties with Despiegelare.
A L’Oreal spokesperson told The Independent: “L’Oréal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium. The contract has now been completed.”
The spokesperson said that, although the brand was aware of the photograph, it would not comment on whether this was behind the decision to terminate Ms Despiegelaere’s contract. However, they were keen to stress that L’Oréal “no longer tests on animals, anywhere in the world, and does not delegate this task to others.”
So was it due to the animal rights issue, or the caption in which she says she’s “hunting Americans”? Probably both. But something tells me we haven’t heard the last of this girl.
The Belgium Smoke I invented got a L'Oreal Contract and then got it taken away all while I was on vacation http://t.co/X5T0AXPEHu
— David Portnoy (@stoolpresidente) July 11, 2014