November 27, 2012 01:00 PM

Michael Loccisano/Getty

With his daughter’s modeling debut for GUESS Kids drawing a variety of reactions, Larry Birkhead is setting the record straight.

According to the 6-year-old‘s dad, his decision to allow Dannielynn Hope to be involved in the campaign was motivated by the opportunity to let his little girl bond with her late mother — and iconic GUESS modelAnna Nicole Smith.

“Dannielynn has always looked up to her mom’s image and said that her mom’s an angel,” Birkhead told Good Morning America on Tuesday.

“I think that this is kind of Dannielynn’s way of paying tribute to her mom in her own special way.”

And now that she has seemingly spent time following in her famous mama’s footsteps, Dannielynn — who was only five months old when her mother passed away — is soaking up the sweet experience.

“To see her mom’s picture next to hers as a GUESS girl and say, ‘Hey, I was a GUESS Kids girl and my mommy was a Guess girl,’ that might be her only connection with her mom,” Birkhead explains.

But, despite dipping her toes in the fashion industry, Dannielynn will not be making a career out of modeling — at least not for now.

“My goal for her is for her to be a child and just do what all kids do,” he says.

— Anya Leon

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