Ana Beatriz Barros Thinks Models Shouldn’t Start Working Until They’re 18

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Ana Beatriz Barros, Ruby Aldridge, and Beth Ditto. Photo: Francois Durand/Getty Images, Theo Wargo/WireImage, Donna Ward/Getty Images

If Victoria's Secret model Ana Beatriz Barros could begin her career anew, she would not have started when she was 14 years old. "I was way too young. I was a baby. I think people should wait until girls are 18 maybe," the 29-year-old told us at the Juicy Couture store last night, where she celebrated Fashion's Night Out. "I think first they should go to school and then study as much as you can." This season, the CFDA has encouraged designers not to hire models who are under the age of 16. "I think 16 to begin with is too young," continued Barros, who still gets plenty of work as she nears 30. "Today you cannot sell a cream for the women in their forties with a 15-year-old."

Ruby Aldrige, the 22-year-old face of Valentino, also wishes she hadn't started her career at the age of 14. "I left school — I graduated early, when I was 16 years old. I had to put in so much work in order to graduate early. I should have stayed in school," she says. "Sixteen is even so young, you know? You get pushed into this world and it’s so fast paced, and it's very adult, and you want to fit in, so it's hard. Those years are important. Then again, 18 sounds — not old, when I say it, but I’m thinking of models and most of them are much younger than 18." Aldridge advises young models to stay in school longer rather than graduate early: "Those are crucial years."

With reporting by Jennifer Vineyard