Concern Over Anna Nicole Smith's 6-Year-Old Daughter ‘Following in Her Footsteps’ With a Modeling Gig

Dannielynn Birkhead in a new Guess Kids campaign.Photos of Anna Nicole Smith's 6-year-old daughter Dannielynn Birkhead modeling for a Guess Kids campaign featuring celebrity children hit the Internet Monday, causing concern amongst parents and non-parents alike.

"She's already been through too much for someone her young, tender age, and has a lifetime of her mother's racy history to find for herself on the Internet. I think her father should be nurturing her and sheltering her from the media, not the opposite," Lyss Stern, the founder of New York City parenting network Divamoms.com told the Daily Mail. Other women's and fashion blogs followed suit with critical commentary.

The criticism continued on Twitter late Monday and early Tuesday. "Birkhead got to enjoy almost 6 years of being a kid before having to go to work and earn a living modeling for Guess like her mom," tweeted @entylawyer.

In the photos, Dannielynn models the new denim collection on the beach and, in black and white, leans against a piece of driftwood. Guess's creative director Paul Marciano said that "Dannielynn has the same playful spirit that her mother had on set." The campaign also features Peyton Edmunds, the daughter of R&B legend Babyface.

"It's reasonable to question the wisdom and sensitivity of allowing or encouraging your child to follow in the ill-fated footsteps of your famous mother," clinical psychologist Dr. Lee Shapiro told Yahoo! Shine. "But it's presumptuous to say that this child should be prohibited from modeling based on her legacy. Clearly not all the children of celebrities who enter the family business wind up as tabloid fodder, and celebrities who have tried to protect their children from the public eye have had to endure their share of unfortunate outcomes as well."

Dannielynn's mom, Anna Nicole Smith, started her career as a Guess model.Dannielynn's father, Larry Birkhead, defended his decision on Good Morning America. "Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom and said that her mom's an angel. I think that this is kind of Dannielynn's way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way. This may be her only connection to her mom."

When categorizing the gig as a "tribute," Birkhead is referring to the fact that Dannielynn is following in her mother's footsteps as a Guess model. In the early '90s, Anna Nicole Smith replaced Claudia Schiffer as the face of Guess Jeans, after a Guess executive saw her in an issue of Playboy.

Psychologist and trauma expert Dr. Francine Shapiro, author of Getting Past Your Past, says the modeling isn't necessarily a negative event for Dannielynn. "It's understandable that any child would want to emulate her mother. If she's seen pictures of Anna Nicole as a model, and doing the same gives her a feeling of connection, there seems nothing wrong with it—provided the rest of her life is one of normalcy and contentment."

Anna Nicole Smith's daughter asks dad Larry Birkhead 'Why did Mommy die?'

How likely Dannielynn's life is to be normal is anyone's guess. Most will remember the media circus that surrounded the custody battle for Dannielynn, who was only five months old when Smith died of a drug overdose in 2007. Smith's boyfriend and lawyer, Howard K. Stern, claimed that he was the father of Dannielynn—but a paternity test revealed it was actually Smith's ex-boyfriend Larry Birkhead, who was awarded custody. Since then, Birkhead has been accused of using his daughter for publicity, appearing on Entertainment Tonight and selling family photos to celebrity magazines.

Concern over the welfare of Dannielynn continues in the court of public opinion. On Twitter, @TeresaKopec sarcastically quipped: "They are turning Anna Nicole Smith's 6yr old into a model. This will end well."

Related links:
Yes, your baby is cute, but no she shouldn't be a model
The widowed parent: grief, loss, and children
Agnes Bruckner on portraying Anna Nicole Smith