Victoria’s Secret’s FIRST Transgender Model

Victorias Secret model, Valentina Sampaio, posing for her Instagram account

via @Valentts

Victoria’s Secret model, Valentina Sampaio, posing for her Instagram account

Jordan Myers, Reporter

Victoria’s Secret has cast their first ever openly transgender model. So, who is she? Valentina Sampaio is a Brazilian model who was hired for a Victoria’s Secret catalog photo shoot for VS Pink, the company’s athletic line.

Erio Zanon, Sampaio’s agent, says that she “believes that this is a great opportunity to break barriers” in the fashion business “and to contribute to a bigger representation for everybody.”

Picture from Valentina Sampaio’s Instagram

VS has always lacked variety among their models and struggled with the backlash whether it be about shapes, sizes, and LGBTQ+ representation, so this is seen as a step towards a future of equality for many people.

Victoria’s Secret’s fashion shows featuring skinny models, thongs and push-up bras have very often been criticized as sexist and out of touch. New lingerie start-ups, including Third Love and Savage X Fenty, are rising up as competitors that embrace inclusivity, unlike VS.

The model took to social media to share the news writing: “Never stop dreaming gente (people)❤️,” she wrote on Instagram. Transgender actress, Laverne Cox, who made her big debut on the show Orange Is The New Black, wrote on the Instagram post: “Wow finally!”

However, this sudden casting of a trans model has sparked controversy due to the fact that they have publicly rejected multiple trans models in the past saying that they could not “sell the fantasy,” which is not true.

Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of the lingerie company’s parent organization, L Brands, has shown a significant lack of interest in casting transgender models, saying he did not think the company needed to cast models who are “transsexuals” in Victoria’s Secret shows in November of 2018. He later apologized, saying that he had “come across as insensitive.” he followed with “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he said. “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 really are.”

Picture from Valentina Sompaio’s Instagram

Many LGBTQ+ members and allies have posted and spoke on the issue that they may have just hired a transgender model for all the wrong reasons. “If you can’t modernize, if you can’t escape your roots from where you started, you are going to struggle to stay relevant,” said Mette Kurth, a bankruptcy lawyer who worked with Frederick’s of Hollywood, said. “And that is their struggle right now. Their core identity is based on what now feels outdated by women.”