Puerto Rican Model Sofía Jirau Makes History As the First-Ever Victoria’s Secret Model With Down Syndrome
The secret is out! Sofía Jirau, the 24-year-old Puerto Rican model who happens to have Down syndrome, is Victoria’s Secret’s newest model. And she couldn’t be happier.
On Monday, Jirau took to Instagram to break the news. “I dreamt of it, I worked hard on it, and today it is a dream come true. I can finally tell you my big secret… I am the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome!”
She continued: “Thanks to all of you for always supporting me in my projects. Thanks to @victoriassecret for seeing me as a #NoLimits model and making me part of the Love Cloud Collection inclusion campaign.”
The Boricua model is part of the company’s new Love Cloud Collection campaign that aims to “reinforce Victoria’s Secret’s commitment to welcoming and celebrating all women” through the hiring of diverse models.
“Love Cloud Collection is a major moment in the brand’s evolution,” said Head Creative Director of Victoria’s Secret, Raúl Martinez, in a statement. “From the cast of incredible women that bring the collection to life, to the incredible inclusive spirit on set, this campaign is an important part of the new Victoria’s Secret standard we are creating.”
Sofía Jirau rose to the public eye in 2019 when she began modeling for her e-commerce fashion company, Alavett. She made an even bigger splash in 2020 when she rocked the runway at New York Fashion Week.
At the time, Jirau told People magazine she had big plans for her future. “When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman’,” she said.
If you’ve been following the controversy surrounding Victoria’s Secret in recent years, then you know that the company has been struggling to adapt to a new, more inclusive culture that values body positivity more than bombshell bras.
The Love Cloud Collection campaign is a strict departure from their previous marketing efforts that pushed unobtainable images to the masses.
In fact, in 2018, Victoria’s Secret was met with massive public backlash when their chief marketing officer stated they would never feature a trans model because “the show is a fantasy.”
Since then, the once-hallowed lingerie company underwent a massive brand overhaul, starting with kicking out their problematic CMO.
Now, Victoria’s Secret is trying to market itself as underwear for every woman, not just supermodels. And it looks like they’re taking a step in the right direction.
So far, people have flocked to social media to offer their congratulations to Jirau for her groundbreaking achievement. “Amazing to see this kind of inclusion from a large brand. We hope to see more companies follow their lead,” wrote one fan on Twitter.
Some online critics think Victoria’s Secret is “exploiting” Jirau because she has Down syndrome. Down syndrome advocates have put a quick stop to that narrative, however.
“Most people commenting on this do not know what they’re talking about,” wrote one knowledgeable Twitter user. “My sister was Downs. Downs people want to be accepted as strong independent people. Congrats to Sofia for accomplishing her goals.”