Victoria’s Secret featured its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio.
Sampaio’s agent, Erio Zanon mentioned that “I confirm she will be featured in the new Pink campaign that will be released in Mid August”.
It was discovered that Victoria’s Secret contacted Sampaio via Instagram in April this year, and after a casting it confirmed her for the VS shoot.
The transgender model’s agent said that the model “is very happy for it and she hopes that it shall contribute to break barriers and to make a step to more inclusivity and representation for everybody.”
In the news, reports showed Sampaio posting a photo on Instagram last week dressed in a white robe tagged “VS Pink” and captioned it “backstage click @vspink.”
Laverne Cox, a transgender actress and activist who stars in Orange Is The New Black wrote “wow finally!” in the comments of the photo.
A Victoria’s Secret Angel, Lais Ribeiro commented with clapping hands emoji and later tweeted about the news.
Ribeiro who is also Brazillian wrote, “This makes me so happy.” She also wrote that Sampaio is the first transgender model to work with the brand. Although Sampaio’s hiring is a step forward for inclusivity and representation, the news itself seems hollow, especially following comments made by Ed Razek, L Brands (Owner of Victoria’s Secret) chief marketing officer.
In an interview with Vogue back in November 2018, Razek said that the company would not hire “transsexuals” or curvier models for the brand’s iconic fashion shows. “We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” Razek said.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he added. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
He later apologised for his tone-deaf comments in a statement shared on Victoria’s Secret’s Twitter account.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the
Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive,” he said in
the statement. “I apologise. To be clear, we would absolutely cast a
transgender model for the show.”
In the statement, Razek went on: “We’ve had transgender models come
to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never
about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they
That news doesn’t come as much of a shock as Les Wexner, the founder and CEO of L Brands, said in a memo obtained by CNBC earlier this year that the show could be leaving network television this year due to low ratings.
Wexner himself is currently being investigated by L Brands for his relationship with financier and convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, who was further charged with the sex trafficking of minors in July