Pint-Sized Phenoms: The Non-Olympic Edition (Music, Art, and Business)

In the past week the Olympics have brought us pint-sized phenoms like Gabby Douglas (and her hair), Missy Franklin, and Katie Ledecky.  But even in the midst of the Olympic Games it’s important to remember that pint-sized achievers come in a variety of forms.

Sure, a lot of them are athletes.  Some excel in Olympic sports that receive less attention than the events dominating primetime (tape-delayed) broadcasts.  For instance, I found this piece on five- and six-year-olds competing in triathlons in the Boston area quite interesting. Others excel in sports not currently included in the Olympic games, like golf.  Based on yesterday’s New York Times article about 10-year-old golfer Latanna Stone (the youngest woman to ever play in the United States Women’s Amateur golf tournaments) I’m sure her family would be pushing for her to compete in the Olympics at some point.

Athletes are great, and definitely deserve recognition, but we should also remember kids who love music, art, and even business.

I was moved by this recent story of a 7-year0ld drum “prodigy,” Jaxon Smith, who amazingly was only one pound when he was born:

I’m not sure Juilliard would let him in, but it is clear that Juilliard is interested in developing more international young musical talent.  I found it fascinating that they will be opening a new campus in China.

If there are big bucks to be made as a prodigy on the musical scene, the young art market is even more promising.  Check out the kind of money child artists have been raking in recently; 5-year-old Aelita Andre creates paintings with price tags around $12,000 and nine-year-old Kieron Williams 24 paintings for $386,000.

That’s impressive until you consider 12-year-old Willa Doss.  Four years ago, with the help of her mother, Doss started her own cosmetics line focused on sophisticated, tween skincare.

Willa Doss and her mother Christy Prunier with a Willa product

Now described as a mogul I’m sure Willa (and her mom) are raking in more than her pint-sized artist counterparts.

I don’t think 12-year-old Ophelia Horton is making as much money as 12-year-old Doss, but she is establishing herself as the next big preteen fashion blogger.  That mantle has been worn very successfully by Tavi Gevinson (recently profiled in the Times and wonderfully profiled a few years ago in The New Yorkerwhere I first read about her) who has now started an online fashion magazine.

I wonder if Horton and Gevinson will blog about Doss, or if they use her products? Or if they plan to but any pint-sized phenom artwork? At the very least I hope the British Horton has taken a blogging break to enjoy the London Olympics, whether she roots for other pint-sized phenom athletes or not.

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