Larry Birkhead, father of the late Anna Nicole Smith’s young daughter Dannielynn, appeared on Good Morning America Tuesday to defend his decision to allow the 6-year-old child to appear in a new ad campaign for Guess.
After Smith was named the face of Guess 20 years ago, the model was launched into a level of superstardom that ultimately led to a lifestyle that claimed her life -- from a drug overdose -- in 2007 when Dannielynn was just 5 months old. And while many believe the young girl should be shielded from the limelight, Birkhead claims that joining the modeling community is a way for his daughter to connect with the mother she never knew.
“Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom’s image and said her mom’s an angel,” said Birkhead during the appearance. “I think that this is kind of Dannielynn’s way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way.”
The 39-year-old photographer continued: “To see her mom’s picture next to hers as a Guess girl and say, ‘Hey, I was a Guess Kids girl, my mommy was a Guess girl,’ that might be her only connection with her mom.”
In a statement released Monday, Guess Inc. creative director Paul Marciano said that Dannielynn has the “same playful spirit that her mother had on set” and noted that the second-generation campaign was “a first” for the brand.
Following a nasty legal battle with Smith’s attorney/on-again-off-again boyfriend Howard K. Stern, Birkhead ultimately won custody of Dannielynn after a DNA test proved his paternity. The duo moved to Birkhead’s native Kentucky and have largely stayed away from the spotlight until recently. Dannielynn’s Guess Kids campaign is slated to roll out in January, when her image will be plastered on billboards, buses and in magazines.