Underage 'Skins' cast poses in lingerie for 'Elle,' ruffles familiar feathers

Thomas Whiteside/ELLE

Well, it’s been about, oh, two weeks since Skins was the center of controversy, inspiring companies to pull sponsorship due to the show’s over-sexed underage content. Apparently, two weeks is too long. Too long, I tell you! Because today comes news that some of Skins‘ cast — including a few of its underage members — have posed for Elle magazine for an “innerwear-as-outerwear” photo shoot. Translation: A lingerie-heavy shoot. (UPDATE: Robbie Myers, Elle‘s editor-in-chief, has issued the following comment to EW about the shoot: “Innerwear as outerwear has been a trend for decades, and Joe Zee’s point was to make what the actors wear on their show more fashion, less vulgar. The content of Skins is infinitely more racy than anything we’d have them do. And we had the blessing of their parents: they were at the shoot.”)


Out of the six actors featured — Camille Cresencia-Mills, Britne Olford, Rachel Thevenard, Sofia Black D’Elia, Eleanor Zichy, and James Newman — two are under 18: Cresencia-Mills (pictured at left) is 17 and Zichy is 15. So, not surprisingly, watchdog groups are starting to furrow their brows. “We have some concerns about it,” Melissa Henson, the Director of Communications and Public Education for the Parents Television Council, tells EW. “We had concerns about the GQ photo shoot of Glee, even though [that cast] was over the age of 19, because they were presenting themselves as high schoolers. With this, even though the poses are less provocative, the fact that they have these underage girls wearing lingerie is troubling. It does contribute to the problem we’re seeing increasingly, sexualizing young girls…. These are clearly very talented and capable actresses, but the purpose of that photo shoot and having them pose in lingerie isn’t to highlight their acting ability. It’s to highlight their attractiveness.” (MTV has yet to respond to EW’s request for comment regarding the shoot.)

While we expect watchdog groups to condemn the photos of the scantily clad minors, we can also expect many Skins fans to say: So what?

It’s no secret the MTV show is raunchy. And Elle‘s photos, morally ambiguous as they might be, are actually much less racy than the show itself. What that says about the appropriateness of Skins I leave up to you, but of all the very publicly available imagery of these girls in their skivvies, this classy-by-comparison photo shoot feels very shrug-worthy. What’s more, in Elle‘s print version, the photo shoot feels more informational than smutty; it’s set up as an instructional piece for girls on how to convert their nighttime wardrobe into daytime looks. (Plus, a source close to the cast tells EW that every cast member who was underage had a parent accompanying them to the shoot.)

That being said, I’m sure the prurient allure and subsequent press the photos would receive didn’t escape them. You do have to question whether Elle was inviting (or even courting) the uproar — especially when you consider that the most scantily clad cast members in the shoot (Cresencia-Mills and Zichy) were the only two females who are underage. Did they cross the line or just bump up against it? What do you think about the photos, PopWatchers? Inappropriate, or much ado about nothing?

Read more:
PTC urging states to investigate ‘Skins’
‘Skins’: MTV releases racy new teaser, GM places show on ‘do not buy’ list
MTV’s new teen hit ‘Skins’: Could it be flirting with child pornography?

Comments (35 total) Add your comment
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  • Kiki

    I will say 15 is really young…I’m kind of surprised Zichy’s parent(s) would let her pose in a bra for a magazine. Though all of the lingerie shown covers up as much or more as bikinis I’ve seen on much younger girls.

    I’m a little more concerned about the inherent sexism in the PTC’s comment. According to them, apparently we should only worry about the media over-sexualizing girls, not all teens, because girls need to be “protected” or something. I’m not a big fan of that kind of thinking.

    • Anna

      I’m in no way defending PTC, but males are not sexualized at the same level as females are. That what’s sexist. No offence, but it is completely disingenuous to pretend that there is some kind of equality in the media’s portrayal of teens and PTC is unfairly calling out one group.

      • Kiki

        I disagree. Shows and movies like Glee, The Vampire Diaries, Twilight, etc. sexualize guys just as much as girls. They never miss a chance to show guys’ abs, show them shirtless, or have a very promiscuous/sexual male character. I’m just saying I don’t like the idea that guys can own their sexuality, but anytime a young female does, it is contributing to the problem of “sexualizing young girls.”

      • Molly

        I’m pretty sick of the idea that EVERYTHING and EVERYONE must be sexualized in order for everything to be equal. What about our pets? Can’t we have a show exclusively about animals boning, just so they don’t feel inferior?

    • whatevs

      It’s really not the same. How much do you hear about women having a young boy fetish rather than a man having a young girl (or boy) fetish?

      Most of the time, the sexual deviant you’re trying to protect kids from is a man. Just saying.

      • TheIntersect

        Uh look at all the Justin Bieber fans…he’s 16 or something. They’re all older women. Twilight fans…older women.

      • chris

        I guess you have not heard of the slew of older woman teachers having sex with their male students. One even married and had their child(Mary Kay Latorno

    • Emily

      It’s been worse before. Brooke Shields was 12 when she played a child prostitute in Pretty Baby.

      And why is wearing lingerie at 15 scandalous? The girls are certainly wearing these things under their clothes, so I don’t know why the PTC is so shocked…

  • Lstat

    Still…teenagers do have sex and the poses aren’t anywhere nearly as provocative as the show

  • Jake

    This confirms my suspicions that the show needs controversy to stay in the public mind.

  • Kate

    That shoot is so mild that I can’t see how people care. Models are often teenagers and no one comments when they are on the runway in sheer tops with no bar or half naked in add campaigns because no one pays attention to the age of the model. Regardless of how you feel about the show, this photo shoot is so not worth the ptc getting their panties in a twist about.

  • Meh

    This is pretty much a non-story. No one cares about “Skins” anyways – the show has declined EVERY week since it’s debut. In a few weeks when this season finishes, it will be canceled and these CHILDREN can go back to school where they belong.

    • Yup

      It’s all much ado about nothing, because the fact is the show SUCKS. The UK version is a zillion times better.

  • Chaz Winterbottom

    John has a long mustache. John has a long mustache.

  • Rusty Shackelford

    This is hilarious. When the cast of Glee who are in their 20s did it there was this big outrage on the comment section, now that actually underage kids are doing it, it’s not big deal or non-story.

    • Mr. Holloway

      I hear what you’re saying, but, to be fair, the fact that no one gives a damn about “Skins” might have something to do with the relative lack of comments when compared to “Glee.”

  • Mandi

    This is ridiculous. Models are usually 14 or 15 when they start their careers. A model who starts after 18 is usually considered ‘starting late’. So they would have to pull half the ads in the fashion mags if minors posing provocatively is a concern.

  • Galecki

    The ironic thing about all of this is, the PTC is responsible for making this show popular and informing all of us that there are underage kids in it.

    If they had simply left it alone and ignored it, it could’ve already been gone

    • Lex

      That is precisely why I love the PTC…
      If I like a show they create an uproar over, I can thank them for publicizing it.
      If I don’t care for it, as in the case of Skins, and somehow end up finding their moral outrage shoved in my face, I can still laugh at them for clearly having the wrong approach to getting something AWAY from people.
      Plus as a teenager I have to say, if your kids turn to drugs/alcohol/sex just because they watched a TV show, either there’s more to their lives that you don’t know about, or you’re doing something wrong. We’re really not that naive.

  • Keith Adams

    I think the PTC is a bunch of self-righteous bible thumping twits. They may think they’re doing the right thing by having everyone avert their eyes but all they are doing is making everyone who hasn’t seen it very curious. It’s like I always say: controversy equals success.

  • TheRock

    PTC is wrong as always all there points baseless that aren’t legit there liars. And make much ado about nothing.

  • awesomekid

    james newman is hot.

  • jj847

    What do watchdogs or any sort of critic have to say about models like Karlie Kloss or Lindsey Wixson being barely 15 at times and posing in lingerie or very scantily clad in suggestive poses for global ad campaigns? The PTC is sounding more and more like the MPAA…and this is terrifying.

  • frank

    The more attention that is given to shows like “Skins”, just makes kids want to see it, even if they were not going to watch it in the first place. Just shut up and no one will care about it anymore, same with Justin Bieber. If that kid was not on every single show, no one would care about him.

    • Frank Anderson

      Hey, you’re not frank, I’m Frank!

  • Frank Anderson

    I’m so over this show trying to get publicity through controversy. It is a trashy, poorly-acted, POS show that isn’t having half the impact that MTV and the lazy journalists that slap together posts about this crappy show wish it did. Sorry, EW and MTV, this show is not the next Jersey Shore.

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