By KATHRYN KNIGHT
Living Doll: You could be forgiven for thinking Venus is a china doll. The 15-year-old girl chooses to style herself as a 'living doll' and films tutorials on how to achieve her look for her internet channel
Porcelain pale, her enormous sky-blue eyes are framed by thick, dark lashes, and her mouth is as perfect as a rosebud.
Her hair has been styled into tousled blonde bunches, which hang coquettishly either side of the ruffled collar of her Victoriana blouse.
You could be forgiven for thinking you are looking at a life-size china figurine. But Venus is a living, breathing 15-year-old girl, who chooses to style herself as a ‘living doll’.
And this isn’t something she does in the privacy of her British bedroom — she uploads footage of herself on to the internet and has gained a cult following around the world.
At last count, Venus’s free internet TV channel had around 30,000 viewers, and her social networking pages 20,000 followers.
Cult following: Her online tutorials showing how to mimic her look have been watched 10 million times across the globe - including by a host of British schoolgirls desperate to imitate her image
Her online tutorials showing how to mimic her look have been watched 10 million times across the globe — including by a host of British schoolgirls desperate to imitate her image.
She says: ‘I get lots of messages from young girls. They tell me they love the way I look and they want to be like me.’
Internet sensation: 15-year-old Venus Palermo dresses like a living doll and shares her image tips with her online fans, all with the support of her mother Margaret, right
It’s all rather strange and a little bit disturbing. But looking like a doll seems to be a growing trend.
In recent months, scores of teenage girls have amassed online followers after posting footage of their doll-like features and instructions on how to perfect the bizarre look.
Most have their own special doll name — in Venus’s case ‘VenusAngelic’ — and all look eerily as if they wouldn’t be out of place in the window of a toy shop, if only they were a tad smaller.
Whether Venus's look is pretty, or pretty odd, depends on your perspective. What's beyond dispute though, is that Venus as a doll is incredibly convincing
This trend, of course, could be seen as nothing more than a passing teenage fad — and one that is less worrying than most.
In an age where many of the role models available to young girls are overtly crude and raunchy, Venus might be accused of nothing more sinister than peddling a heightened version of fancy dress.
However, another description hovers in the background alongside ‘living doll’. It also begins with ‘L’ but has rather more sinister connotations. Yet Venus’s mother will not hear of her daughter being called a Lolita.
Venus is switched on enough to mastermind her enormous following, and navigates her state-of-the-art computer like a professional
Team effort: Venus is helped by her mother, Margaret (right) who whips out the peroxide bottle every month to lighten her daughter's naturally dark locks
However, Venus is emphatic that she will not grow out of it — but that the look will instead grow with her. ‘There is a way of adapting it as I get older so it remains true to the spirit of the idea but is in keeping with my age,’ she insists.
‘I don’t think I should be wearing my hair in pigtails when I’m 18.’
Some people may think that 15 would be a good time to remove them — but there seems little chance of that.
As I take my leave, Venus is back at her computer, answering questions from her online fans. And the word that springs to mind is ‘bizarre’.