Thursday, 9 September 2010

A Not So Model Weekend

I remember Rosemary Vandenbrouke when she was 14 years old and she had just won the Elite Model Look contest which was only in its second year. Vandenbrouke, whose father is half French and half Russian while her mother is Chinese, was born in France and later went to an international school in Hong Kong. It was her Eurasian look as well as height that helped her easily win the contest.

At the time her mother seemed to want to have the spotlight on her too, and having her daughter still a minor gave her the opportunity to escort her child everywhere with photographers and reporters following them.

Apart from modeling Vandenbrouke developed a singing career in 2001 with a debut album called Dreams Come True in 2006. She apparently wrote all the songs and played guitar.

However, this budding star's trajectory is about to be cut short after a double whammy in the United States this past weekend.

Firstly, the 28 year old was caught with a small amount of ecstasy Sunday during the Labour Day weekend where she was attending the counterculture Burning Man Festival. An officer had seen her pass a substance to another person and questioned her about it.

She was charged with possession of a controlled substance and was released on $15,000 bail pending an October 19 court appearance. If convicted, she could face four years of probation.

Then she faces an additional three charges for crashing a 40-foot rented motor home into downtown Reno's "Biggest Little City in the World" arch at around 3pm the next day.

City police sergeant Jim Stegmaier said: "She ended up hitting a fire hydrant, shearing it off, and hitting the base of the Reno sign."

He said no one was injured and water didn't spout from the broken fire hydrant.

Witnesses told police a passenger removed the broken hydrant from beneath the motor home and climbed back in the vehicle as a female driver drove away.

Soon after, the police stopped the motor home and arrested Vandenbrouke.

"She didn't deny the accident, but said she thought she would report it later because she was in a hurry to get the motor home back on time," Stegmaier said.

Vandenbrouke was arrested for a vehicular hit-and-run, failure to maintain insurance and improper right turn charges," the officer added.

She was then photographed and fingerprinted at Washoe County Jail in Reno and released on $1,280 bail. She is due in Reno Municipal Court on September 29. The above picture was taken at this jail. I hardly recognized her in this photo, which is a far cry from the flawless face I'd seen in magazines and advertisements. Or is it the beauty of PhotoShop?

In Hong Kong it will be interesting to see what the reaction is to Vandenbrouke's charges, but most will probably write it off as an expat kid who has been spoiled. Questions may also be asked about her starting a modeling career at such a young age. Drugs are pretty much a no-no in this city, even though some young people do this kind of recreational activity.

What will her sponsors think? Will her lucrative modeling contracts come to an end? Stay tuned.

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