So angry that model lied she was 3 years older
IN ANOTHER shock, one model told the organiser, Mr Gerald Chen of Motoring Exchange, that she is actually 16 years old.
'Belle' had initially told both him and the freelance agent who found the models that she was 19. Neither of them had checked her IC before the event.
Both men said they were shocked by her revelation which came after one teaser of each girl had been uploaded onto the car wash's Facebook page after the event. Belle was upset because she felt she could be recognised in the photo and demanded the picture be taken down. She told The New Paper on Sunday: 'I don't think I would have a problem with just my body online. But if my face was shown, then I'm going to be in deep trouble.'
Her parents know she is modelling, but they have no idea she has posed topless and she was worried they would find out. This is her second topless shoot, though she said the first one was 'really private, not for any advertisement or anything'.
Mr Chen said he asked her, a few days after the event, to fax over a copy of her IC, to prove her age.
He said: 'If she's really 16, I also don't want to have anything to do with her.'
In the interim, he removed all four pictures of the four models from Facebook. When he got the fax, he noticed there were discrepancies in her IC details and the model release form she had filled out for the photo shoot. Belle had written the same family name, but her first name was spelt differently. She had also written a different year of birth in the model release form.
Mr Chen showed both documents to The New Paper on Sunday.
'I wasn't sure if it's really her IC, since the name was different,' he said.
But he decided not to take any chances, so he edited her out of all the pictures in the collection before uploading them. The final photo set now looks as though only three models were present. Mr Chen said that on the day of the shoot, he had asked all four girls to sign model release forms stating that they are above 18. He also asked them to bring their ICs to confirm their ages.
Belle said she didn't bring it, but she was allowed to continue with the shoot. Said Mr Chen: 'We decided to trust her, production had to go on. It's amazing, a 16-year-old looks like that.
'She sure fooled us.'
When The New Paper on Sunday met Belle in person, it was almost shocking how petite and innocent she looked in jeans, T-shirt and no make-up, compared to the vamp in the car wash photos. In an earlier phone interview, Belle admitted that she had lied about her age. But she felt it was 'not a big deal' as it was a difference of only 'a couple of years'. She claimed she had given her 'short name' instead of her full name.
The agent who got her the assignment said he was angry with her for lying, but also relieved that she was 16 and not younger.
Lawyers Nicholas Aw and Michael Loh said that in Singapore, the Children and Young Persons Act covers those below the age of 16. Anyone who turns 16 is no longer considered a juvenile. There are a number of provisions within the Act that could have been broken if Belle had been below 16. For instance, anyone who sexually exploits a child or young person - for example, procuring or attempting to procure the commission of any obscene or indecent act by any child or young person - can be fined up to $5,000, jailed up to two years, or both, for the first conviction. Her age also affects the legality of the model release form she signed. As the legal age for entering a contract in Singapore is 18, Belle's model release form - which gives the organiser all the rights to the pictures, among other things - could be void.
Said the agent: 'I think it's typical teenager mentality. She doesn't really understand the full extent of her actions.'
If the authorities investigate and find the whole car wash event to involve indecent exposure to the public, Belle can be charged in court as an adult, as she is above 16. In Singapore, it is an offence for a person to appear nude or dressed in a manner that offends public decency in a public place, or in a private place that is exposed to public view. Offenders can be fined up to $2,000, jailed up to three months, or both under the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act. Any person found guilty of indecent behaviour in a public place can be fined up to $1,000 or jailed up to a month, for a first time offender.
Those in the modelling industry said that young models lying about their age to get more jobs is rare.
Checks with agencies like Looque Models, Carrie Models International and Jeffrey Chung Models showed that all of them check the models' ICs or make a copy of the document when they sign them on. All models below 18 either need parental consent, or a parent to sign the contract.
This article was first published in The New Paper.