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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

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Concerns raised over Dear Hannah Prep’s tween ambassadors

Local boutique faces backlash over using young girls in their social media.
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Dear+Hannah+Prep%2C+a+childrens+boutique%2C+is+located+in+Snider+Plaza+but+has+garnered+national+attention.
Malia House and Charlotte Gillem
Dear Hannah Prep, a children’s boutique, is located in Snider Plaza but has garnered national attention.

Dear Hannah Prep is a children’s clothing store located in Highland Park, which features young tweens on TikTok and critics are concerned about children’s rights and their privacy.

The boutique is targeted towards girls and tweens, and opened last year in Snider Plaza. The store stemmed from Dear Hannah, a boutique for college-aged women.

The controversy has led to concerns about young girls’ mental health being impacted by social media.

Manager of Dear Hannah Prep’s TikTok Gabriela Vascimini is often featured on the TikTok.

She is also a social media influencer and says the brand embraces girlhood.

“As far as the young girls and portraying them in a positive light, it’s really all about that,” Vascimini said. “It’s about letting girls embrace childhood and not force them to grow up too quickly. I think a lot of media for young girls encourages that and this is kind of trying to take a step back into more of those nostalgia brands, like American Girl.”

But the director of programs at the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Carolyn Kedslie, said social media can be especially unpredictable for children.

“It can definitely impact people in a positive way and in a very negative way,” Kedslie said. “It really has to do with how the user is approaching social media, what they’re wanting to be involved with on social media.”

Vascimini does not agree and says that participation is fully voluntary and it is in line with what other brands do. 

“It just has so much to do with how the algorithm works,” she said. “If something goes viral and it gets pushed out to people who aren’t the target audience and I’ve experienced that on my pages too, and I feel like all the negative comments we’ve been getting, they weren’t from customers.”

But Kedslie said that involving young kids in brand’s social media can be harmful to how they perceive themselves.

“It can be very dangerous to have, number one, a child have a job,” she said. “But also have that be related to how they look and how they are representing something else because then it ties their identity into something that is literally going to change in six months.”

The reporters on this story reached out to Dear Hannah Prep owner Hannah Caillier for a comment but she did not want to speak on the controversy.

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