Valentina Sampaio is Victoria's Secret's first openly transgender model

07 August 2019 - 00:00 By Nothemba Mkhondo
Valentina Sampaio walks the runway during Le Defile L'Oreal Paris as part of Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018.
Valentina Sampaio walks the runway during Le Defile L'Oreal Paris as part of Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2018.
Image: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images for L'Oreal Paris

Things are changing at Victoria's Secret — at long last. The lingerie brand has finally cast their first openly transgender model, Valentina Sampaio.

The 22-year-old Brazilian model uploaded a photograph of herself on Instagram capturing a moment behind the scenes while shooting a campaign for Victoria's Secret’s VS Pink line — the brand’s athletic diffusion range.

This is a bold and overdue move for the brand, which has received a lot of flack over the years for perpetuating a very singular definition of beauty: women who are white, wafer-thin and have legs for days.

It's also been criticised as being sexist and stuck in the past, especially as more inclusive lingerie brands like Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty have entered the market.

The decision to hire Sampaio is a welcome change, and one that hopefully signals that we can expect more inclusivity and diversity from the brand in the future.

InterestinglySampaio's Instagram post coincides with the news that Ed Razek, the controversial chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, has stepped down. 

In November of last year, Razek was quoted in an interview with Vogue Magazine saying he didn’t think the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show should feature “transsexuals” because "the show is a fantasy".

Razek later issued an apology via Twitter saying, "To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We've had transgender models come to castings ... And like many others, they didn't make it ... But it was never about gender."

Well Mr Razek, many around the world are glad to see a transgender model finally made the cut.


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