After a rocky year of controversy surrounding Victoria's Secret and just days after model Shanina Shaik revealed the brand's 2019 fashion show wouldn't be going ahead, it appears the lingerie giant has started listening to its critics.
Over the weekend, transgender Brazilian model and actress Valentina Sampaio revealed she had been cast for a photoshoot for Victoria's Secret's PINK line. This marks the first time the brand has cast a transgender model and comes nine months after Chief marketing officer Ed Razek's comments on diversity which quickly went viral and prompted celebrities such as Halsey, who performed in the 2018 show, to speak out.
While addressing the criticism surrounding Victoria's Secret's lack of diversity, Razek told Vogue, "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. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”
There are photos of Valentina heading in to audition for the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, however, the 22-year-old didn't make the final line-up of 60 models. Her posts confirming her PINK casting received a tonne of support from fellow models, including congratulations from current Victoria's Secret Angel (and fellow Brazilian) Lais Ribeiro, who posted how happy she was about the news on Twitter, and Laverne Cox, who wrote "Wow finally!" in the comments of Sampaio's Instagram.
This isn't the first time Valentina has broken records, either: she was the first trans model on any Vogue cover, appearing on the March 2017 cover of Vogue Paris and later appearing on the cover of Vogue Brazil and Vogue Germany.