Amid struggles from the brand this year, including cancelling its blockbuster fashion show, Victoria’s Secret has tapped Valentina Sampaio as one of its latest models. The news makes the Brazilian model the first in history to model for the lingerie brand.
Sampaio, who was also the first trans model to ever grace the cover of an issue of Vogue, took to Instagram to share a behind-the-scenes look at her photoshoot for VS Pink, a subbrand of the lingerie company
She has also appeared on the cover of Elle Brasil multiple times.
Fellow Victoria’s Secret angel Lais Riberio shared her excitment by congratulating Sampaio on Twitter, “First transgender (sic) to shoot with Vs! This make me so happy!”
In the past, trans models such as Carmen Carrera and Leyna Bloom expressed interest in walking the runway for the brand. Carrera’s attempts led to a petition to make her Victoria’s Secret’s first trans model.
Last year Victoria’s Secret came under scrutinity after Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of its parent company, L Brands, said that transgender models should not be featured in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said in an interview with Vogue. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy, It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”
Following the backlash, trans influencer and beauty brand owner Nikita Dragun dropped a response, mocking up her own own Victoria’s Secret ad and posting it on social media.
“Dear Victoria’s Secret, you said trans women can’t sell the ‘fantasy,’ so here I am as a trans woman selling the fantasy,” she tweeted with the 35-second video.
“Fashion is a business of change,” a memo from Victoria’s Secret obtained by CNBC reads. “We must evolve and change to grow. With that in mind, we have decided to re-think the traditional Victoria's Secret Show. Going forward we don't believe network television is the right fit. In 2019 and beyond, we're focusing on developing exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event — delivered to our customers on platforms that she's glued to... and in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age."
Congratulations Valentina Sampaio, and way to go Victoria’s Secret. Now we are just waiting on those plus sized models.