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?