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Childhood banished for kids of the rich
‘Children of pampered are being taken for a ride without backward glance’
Plucking stray hairs so the eyebrows are arched just so, bikini wax jobs and even microderm abrasion – all the chores of maintaining the female body in competition to be a supermodel. Except these girls are ages 8 or 9, or maybe 10.
The new trend has been documented anecdotally by Carrie Denny, who wrote about it in the Philadelphia Magazine.
“Over the past few years, we’ve seen a tidal wave of this rising luxury-class culture – you’ve seen it in these pages, manifested in reports of $80,000 ‘push presents,’ lavish condo buildings sprouting up like beanstalks, and weekends spent stockpiling couture with on-call personal shoppers. But just when we thought this consumerist takeover couldn’t get any worse, here comes the trend’s newest tributary: The kids of the pampered are being taken along for the ride, without a backward glance at the childhood left behind,” she wrote.
Denny reports Lauren Albert, Rescue Rittenhouse Spa director, says moms often haul in daughters ages of 10 to 14 for waxes, nail services and facials, and expert advice on makeup.
“It’s not just to get them ready for their big party,” Albert told the magazine. “It’s like, ‘Okay, you’re becoming a woman now, here are the things you’ll need to do as a woman.'”
But Denny pointed out the young girls are not women.
“This new, unstoppable desire of mothers to pluck and paint their daughters has created an unexpected conundrum for spa owners and aestheticians, who can’t afford to lose the moms’ lucrative business – but who also don’t want to be partners in crime,” she wrote.
Owner Joseph Cutrufello of the Pierre & Carlo European Salon & Spa said the moms are advised about the pain, sweating, and skin irritation that can result from some treatments. Denny reported at Bernard’s Salon & Day Spa in Cherry Hill, marketing director Carla Ciocoila-Toppi is more direct.
“We’ve flat-out told mothers that highlighting such a young girl’s hair is a bad idea, and something we’d rather not do. But so many mothers push anyway that now we have them sign a waiver.”
Owner Sarah Keating of the Phoenix Salon & Spa noted she not only requires moms to sign waivers, but requires them to be on hand for procedures such as body waxing, “as any wayward hair that dared to grow on [the daughter’s] adolescent skin – from head to toe – was ripped out.”
“It’s like this keeping-up-with-the-Joneses thing has stretched to our kids,” Dasha Klein, who has an 11-year-old daughter. She said she knows 16-year-olds who have had breast implants and a 20-year-old who gets Botox.
“They’re trying to keep up with Hollywood – and Britney Spears and Paris Hilton and Miley Cyrus and whoever else they’re looking at,” she said.The experts say there are some times when professional help is a good idea, such as when a child’s skin breaks out to the point it’s noticed.
Keating told the magazine that nail-painting is as far she she allows her own nine-year-old to go, and her 12-year-old gets an occasional cleansing facial.
“She has her whole life to do what she wants,” she told Denny. “I want her to make those decisions about her body for herself, when she’s an adult.”
“The rich get richer and more abominable. I feel worry for these girls and the emotionally damaged, scarred women they will inevitably become. Shame on you, bad mommies,” wrote “anonymous” on the magazine’s forum.
“Does the mother of the 7-year-old really think her daughter’s hair is not the right shade? My daughter’s hair could never be more beautiful – soft and untouched,” added R. Davies.