Is the "Most Beautiful Girl in the World" Doing Too Much?

Photo of Jare Ijalana by Bamuyiwa
By Erickka Sy Savané

By now many of you have seen the now viral photo of beautiful 5 year-old Nigerian girl, Jare Ijalana, recently anointed, 'The Most Beautiful Girl in the World.' To see her sweet, angelic face is to instantly fall in love. To see the wig and full-on makeup on a girl so young has many asking, is it too much though?

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It's a valid question.

The image has been causing quite a stir since it appeared online last week. If you've seen these "most beautiful girl in the world" posts, you know that they usually feature a blonde-haired, blue-eyed white girl from some part of the world. So to see a black girl is a first and cause to pause. To see such a beautiful black girl is another reason to stop clicking for a moment of silence, so it's no wonder the photo has gone viral. However, there are a few problematic issues with the photo that can't be ignored that go beyond being happy to see a black girl's beauty being celebrated on such a wide scale. And frankly, many of us celebrate black beauty everyday, and don't need a 'panel' of God knows who- someone white undoubtedly- telling us who is the most beautiful.

That said, there's a real question about the use of a Beyonce wig on a 5 year-old, as well as the full-on makeup job. Images have power and an image like this sends the message that girls, black ones in particular, need enhancements when they don't. Even as adults, many of us are just now realizing that less is more, so celebrating images of children as IG models feels like a step back. Like we're putting a pressure on girls to be beautiful younger and younger, and where does it end? Meanwhile, boys get to be boys, climb trees, and get judged based on their actions. How about we start a most intelligent girl in the world post, and we pick many girls from all across the globe?

It seems that Bamuyiwa, the photographer who took the photo of Jare, knows that her brand of child photography might not be for everyone because she posted this on her IG Page.
J A R E @the_j3_sisters CHILDREN ARE A GIFT FROM HEAVEN. I’m pretty excited and elated about my new style of child portraiture . Before I thought of Photographing the @the_j3_sisters , I have had frivolous ideas of how I can make artsy portraits of kids And do away from the norm . The opportunity came and I had to take a bold step to express my ideas of how I want to take portraits of kids. I want to portray the interception between her childhood and adulthood so both stay timeless ! We continue to the next post TEAM Make up by Dammy of @iposhlooks Creative style direction @mofebamuyiwa Hair by @totalshopwigs Hair styled by @hairkarved Styled by @styledbyseun Assisted by @adebimpe_aj @ernest_chuxx @official_bigjosh #bmbstudio #bmbphotography #mofebamuyiwa #kids #kidsphotography #artsy #love #light #childphotographer #familyphotography
A post shared by BMBSTUDIO (@mofebamuyiwa) on

Her post drew those who both loved the photo and others who felt it didn't need the extras. In what could be seen as even more problematic is the photographers reasons behind showing Jare as a womanchild.

Capturing the Art of innocence and the sides of JOMI in one body. J O M I of the @the_j3_sisters The elder sister of J A R E When I was a child I always wanted to wear my Mum’s shoes , cloths and do all she did as a woman . I wasn’t afraid of being that woman , though I wasn’t aware , nothing scared me of the cost it would take to be a woman . “I WAS FEARLESS AS A CHILD “ I’m sure every girl has gone through this stage and can totally relate . Meeting Jomi of the @the_j3_sisters Was more inspiring . Asides that she is bright and beautiful , she is very coordinated and every pose directed , she did better than I told her to do . She definitely has buttressed and given me more proof that every little girl dreams of being a woman . I guess was looking for a platform to showcase her inner woman !!! Photography is my little way of expressing my thoughts than in words and so I am not the best curator of my work .
A post shared by BMBSTUDIO (@mofebamuyiwa) on

It's starting to become too much to unpack here, and begins to border on creepy. Little girls don't need to live out fantasies of looking like an adult on camera for the world to see. Furthermore, it doesn't need to be exploited by a photographer, parent and makeup team.

HOWEVER, if you're wondering what Jare looks like with less, see this beautiful photo of her and her sister Jomi taken by M12Photography. 
Photo by M12Photography 
The girls are beautiful and look like little girls. Neither are professional models, however, their mother recently started an IG page called The J3 Sisters where you can find a few more pics of Jare, her sis Jomi, 7, and Joba, 10.

Photo of Jare, Joba and Jomi by M12Photography
All girls are beauties and we wish them the best!


 What do you think? Is the photo of 'the most beautiful girl in the world' too much? Is it okay for little girls to wear wigs and makeup?

Erickka Sy Savané is managing editor of CurlyNikki.com, a wife, mom, and freelance writer based in Jersey, City, NJ. Her work has appeared in Essence.comEbony.com, Madamenoire.com, xoNecole.com, and more. When she’s not writing...wait, she’s always writing! Follow her on Twitter, Instagram or  

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