New York, London, Paris, Milan, International, Models

Valerija Sestic Lies About Age, Fuels Underage Uproar (photos)

Valerija Sestic, an up and coming model who was everywhere on the New York Fashion Week catwalks, has rekindled the debate about underage models. She flouted a new industry policy by lying about her age to work the shows.

Sestic, who was born in Bern, Switzerland, told more than a dozen designers including Tory Burch, Rodarte and Oscar de la Renta, that she was 16.

But her birth year is listed as 1996 on some model directories, which would make her only only 14, going on 15.

Steven Kolb, chief executive of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and President Diane Von Furstenberg made it the organization’s official policy to recommend against employing models under 16.

Designers Who Used Valerija for Spring-Summer 2012.

Valerija Sestic

  • Phillip Lim
  • BCBG Max Azria
  • Carolina Herrera
  • DKNY
  • Doo.Ri
  • Hervé Léger
  • Marc by Marc Jacobs
  • Oscar de la Renta
  • Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti
  • Ports 1961
  • Prabal Gurung
  • Rag & Bone
  • Rodarte
  • Theyskens’ Theory
  • Tory Burch
  • Y-3

Most top designers and agencies signed on to the campaign and Vogue magazine’s Anna Wintour also endorsed the effort.

But Kylie Jenner, sister of reality TV personality Kim Kardashian, openly flouted the law by walking in Avril Lavigne’s show at New York Fashion Week. She’s only 14.

Hailey Clauson, then 15, walked in Von Furstenberg’s February runway show, prompting the CFDA to make the policy official. The designer said she was unaware, at the time, of her age.

Check out Valerija’s photos; click to enlarge.

Sestic’s agency, Women Management, claimed she is 15 after questions were raised by her appearance on the catwalks at Milan Fashion Week.

Sestic, who is 5’9″ tall, will turn 16 on Oct. 21, the agency said.

“It is true. She is 15. This is never going to happen again from our company. I take full responsibility,” agency President Dejan Markovic,, said in a statement.

Nonetheless, Valerija, who is of Croatian descent, appeared on the catwalk at yesterday’s D&G show in Milan.

Valerija is considered on of the fashion industry’s hottest new models.

She was only discovered in April, yet she walked in 16 shows at New York Fashion Week.

“The eyes, the pouty lip, even the way she walks is almost feline. She has a confidence that belies her age,” Marie Claire’s Jeremy Spears, told The Wall Street Journal.

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