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Valentina Sampaio Victoria's Secret trans model

Victoria’s Secret just hired its first ever trans model

Siri, play ‘Too Little Too Late’ by JoJo

After causing outrage at the end of 2018, when chief marketing officer Ed Razek claimed trans women were not part of the label’s ‘fantasy’, Victoria’s Secret has seemingly finally realised we’re living in 2019 and hired its first trans model. 

Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio took to Instagram to share behind-the-scenes photographs and a video of herself on a shoot for the brand’s younger Pink line, in a post accompanied by the caption “Never stop dreaming”. Sampaio is no stranger to making history, after she became the first trans woman to cover Vogue Paris back in 2017 and appeared in the Brazilian edition a year later. 

The news comes after it was revealed there will be no televised Victoria’s Secret show this year after viewing stats fell to an all time low last year, and established Angels Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge railed against Razek’s comments via Instagram, which were originally published in an interview with Vogue ahead of the 2018 runway show. 

Soon after, Kloss gave up her wings, explaining to Vogue that the brand’s values no longer aligned with her own: “I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful.”  

Razek also came under fire for his comments around plus-size models, claiming that, like trans models, they too are not part of the fantasy Victoria’s Secret is intent on offering up. As yet there has been no news of the inclusion of plus-size models going forward. 

While the move to feature Sampaio in its new campaign is a step forward for what has become a truly backwards-facing brand, we can’t help but feel slightly cynical about the news.

Despite a push towards inclusivity by the fashion industry, Victoria’s Secret has trailed behind by continuing to offer an incredibly narrow ‘fantasy’ year after year, and with Razek still at its helm (despite calls for his resignation) the decision to now include a trans model on its line-up of Angels feels like an attempt to get the cash registers ringing amid falling sales as opposed to a genuine move towards diversity. In this case, you can keep your scratchy nylon knickers, VS – to us, it all feels just a little too late.