Victoria’s Secret Is Officially Eating Its Words After Hiring A Trans Model To Represent Its Brand
Several times in the past, Victoria’s Secret has come under fire for the hiring practices of their models. For instance, the underwear company has been accused of not hiring women of color — especially dark women — for their campaigns. Also, they have made disparaging comments before about hiring plus-sized and transgender models to display their products.
However, with the addition of its newest model, it seems that the brand has had a change of heart– or is, at least, trying to win back ours.
Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio has been confirmed as the first trans model to be hired by the company for any of their lines or campaigns.
Last week, the model posted a photo of herself on her Instagram, causing fans to speculate about the collaboration. In it, Sampaio tagged Victoria’s Secret’s Insta and added the hashtags #vspink, #campaign, and #diversity. She also posted a video of herself days later with the caption “Never stop dreaming genteee” along with the hashtags #staytuned, #vspink and #diversity.
Despite these posts, her partnership with the lingerie brand wasn’t confirmed until Monday.
Sampaio’s agent, Erio Zanon, confirmed with CNN that the model has been hired by Victoria’s Secret for a campaign. The campaign is set to be released in mid-August 2019 and the brand’s popular PINK line is reported to be its target.
Hiring the Brazilian as a new face of their brand is a huge departure from Victoria’s Secret’s very recent exclusionary stance.
Back in 2018, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer for Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, created controversy with certain comments he made during an interview with VOGUE. When asked about adding plus-sized models and trans models to their yearly Victoria’s Secret special or to their advertisements, Razek rejected the idea.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this?” the marketing officer asked hypothetically. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Razek later apologized for his comments after the trans and LBGTQ communities pushed back on his offensive words. In his official statement, he clarified: “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we would absolutely cast a transgender model for the show.”
Supporters of the brand’s decision to hire Sampaio were quick to celebrate the partnership for the history maker that it is.
Fellow Brazilian model Lais Ribeiro sent her congratulations to the newest Victoria’s Secret’s model on her incredible news. In a tweet from her personal Twitter account, the Latina posted a screenshot of an article describing the Latina’s new job with the caption, “First transgender to shoot with Vs! This makes me so happy!” We’re ecstatic that Sampaio has the support of other models during this new and challenging role.
Fans on Twitter were also happy to learn of Victoria’s Secret’s historical hire and shared their hope that it would lead to other important diversification.
As this tweet points out, the hire is way past due. Our society is becoming more noticeably diverse and, with the change in dynamics, our marketing and entertainment should also reflect these differences. Just like this Twitter user, we are looking forward to the day that Victoria’s Secret hires plus-sized women, more Black and brown women, and disabled people to rep their runways.
Still, we can’t help but admit that this hire could partially be driven by the poor reaction to their earlier anti-trans sentiment.
Twitter user points out that the lingerie brand has been losing big money for a while now. After a disastrous 2018, Victoria’s Secret announced in April of 2019 that they would be closing over 50 stores by the end of the year. This inclusion of a trans model could be seen as pandering to an untapped demographic in order to get their sales up.
However, we’re reminded that progress is progress no matter how it comes about.
Whether this is a hire with an ulterior motive or not, the fact that Sampaio has been brought on as the first trans model for Victoria’s Secret is huge. Progress should be celebrated no matter how it comes about and we’re certain that Sampaio will make a heavenly addition to the lingerie brand’s team.