Mother of 13-year-old Irish model defends daughter's career
The mother of a 13-year-old Irish model has defended her decision to let her pursue a career in modelling.
Brenda McCleary has come out in defence of the decision to allow her daughter Darcy Brittain-Dissont join a model agency though she's only 13 years old.
Her mother says she is "mature" enough to handle the industry, and insists she has not undergone a makeover in order to make her look older in shoots.
"I think the pictures speak for themselves. She doesn't really look like a 13-year-old, and they pretty much represent Darcy as she looks in everyday life," Ms McCleary said.
"People have been assuming she's 16 from about the age of 10.
"She's just one of those girls that has grown up early, not just physically, but also she's very mature. I think she's well able to take this on."
She says she's always look older for her age, and has been the subject of schoolyard taunts regarding her appearance. For this reason, Brenda says she's proud of her daughter for having the confidence to pursue her career.
"I think she looks great and she's happy as well," she said.
"Every mother wants to see their child do something that she's happy doing.
"She used to get a little bit of a hard time, as does everybody that stands out a little bit. She's turned what was potentially negative into something more positive. I think it's great."
There was shock at the Belfast Fashion Week when the young model took to the catwalk.
However, mother Brenda said she accompanies her daughter to every modelling job. She also doesn't believe starting out at such a young age will have a detrimental effect on her .
"I think Kate Moss has said she suffered from starting modelling so early, but she was on the world stage, not Belfast, so it's a world away," Brenda said.
Speaking on RTE's Mornings with Dave Fanning, Darcy also said she has no intentions of letting her potential modelling career get in the way of her schoolwork and sporty lifestyle.
"I'm going to focus more on my sport and my academics and basically just do modelling as a hobby outside of school whenever I have the time to do it," the 13-year-old said.
"I haven't picked my GCSEs yet, but I know I want to go to university and pursue all the things I wanted before the modelling even started."