Abigail Klein Leichman
July 13, 2015, Updated July 16, 2015

Israel’s Channel 2 called it a Cinderella story, and that’s no exaggeration.
Blond, blue-eyed Israeli 14-year-old Sofia Mechetner became the new in-house face of Christian Dior, though she has zero modeling experience. Her $265,000 contract included introducing the Dior Haute Couture fall-winter line for 2015 at Paris Fashion Week from July 5-10.

It’s likely that her single immigrant mother can stop cleaning offices and caring for the elderly, and Sofia can get them a bigger place so she will no longer have to share a room with her two younger siblings in a modest apartment in Holon.

At 178 centimeters (5’8”) tall, Sofia caught the eye of a talent scout from Israel’s Roberto management agency, which sent her with a chaperone to Paris for a photo shoot and audition at the Viva modeling agency. However, when Viva discovered that Sofia was only 14 and had never modelled, the shoot was cancelled. The disappointed pair took a walk and stopped into a Dior store when head designer Raf Simons just happened to be there.

Simons was struck by Sofia’s looks and told the company’s casting director about her. He contacted the Viva Agency, thinking she was a client. Needless to say, the agency reconsidered its initial rejection. Several weeks later, back in Holon, Sofia got the news that she got the Dior gig. Some quick lessons on runway modeling and she was off to Paris.

Channel 2 followed her around Holon for a few days before the trip, showing her picking up her sister and brother from school and preparing food for them, folding laundry and giving a tour of the one-room flat. Photos of models are posted on the walls above her mattress on the floor.

It has been noted that the teen strongly resembles a young Kate Moss, the British supermodel also discovered at age 14. Whether Sofia will go on to the kind of spectacular career Moss has enjoyed remains to be seen. But without a doubt, she will no longer be embarrassed to bring friends home.

Fighting for Israel's truth

We cover what makes life in Israel so special — it's people. A non-profit organization, ISRAEL21c's team of journalists are committed to telling stories that humanize Israelis and show their positive impact on our world. You can bring these stories to life by making a donation of $6/month. 

Jason Harris

Jason Harris

Executive Director