Chief marketing officer for Victoria Secret, Ed Razek, made a few choice remarks in an interview with Vogue back in 2018 about the inclusion of plus size or transsexual models on a runway show, stating that it would “ruin the fantasy”. It’s clear that the company is trying to stay above board in the wake of the #MeToo movement, with Razek issuing an apology for his “insensitive” comments.
The statement naturally incited a furore on social media, with Model Alliance taking to Instagram to share their views:
Clearly, reinvention of the brand that defined itself on the female image was in dire need, so it’s refreshing to see that the company have hired their first transgender model, 22-year-old Valentia Sampaio from Aquiraz in Northern Brazil.
For her to be in the line up for the VS Pink campaign is extremely fitting as one scroll through her Instagram page shows she is all about fitness, with shots of her practicing yoga and post workout selfies (as well as some glorious beach shots that make will make anyone jealous).
It is there that the Brazilian model shared the ground-breaking news, with a dressing gown Behind-The-Scenes shot and the caption “Backstage click” while tagging the brand’s official Pink IG account.
She then posted a video of herself with the caption: “Never stop dreaming.”
Many VS Angels have come out to support her joining the VS family, such as fellow Brazilian Model Lais Ribeiro, who shared her excitement of the announcement on Twitter.
Sampaio has been taking the modelling world by storm; starting back in 2014 when she was fired from a modelling job due to her transgender status. This did not dissuade her, though, and in 2016 L’Oréal took her on and made her a spokeswoman and brand ambassador.
Less than a year later, she shot into the international limelight by being featured on the cover of Vogue Paris, Vogue Brasil and Vogue Germany, starting a snowball effect of other cover shoots for a variety of fashion and beauty magazines.
With all the negativity in the news and equality being called in to question time and time again, this is a much-needed step forward. Even if it is small step, I am here for it and hope that more opportunities like this will arise for the Trans and LGBTQ+ community.
Ironically, Mr Razek, who was mentioned earlier, has announced his retirement, which leaves me wondering if that was an attempt at a statement? Regardless, I hope that this will invite someone who is less closed minded to fill the role.
The VS Pink campaign featuring Valentina Sampaio debuts in mid-August and I’m so looking forward to and hoping for an overwhelming support and positivity for her
Images via Instagram