According to the New York Times, 22-year-old Valentina Sampaio is the latest angel to join the company. Her agent, Erio Zanon, says she’s been hired to model for #Pink, the company’s athletic line for its younger audience.
Sampaio posted a backstage Instagram photo of herself in a white dressing gown on a shoot this week, with the hashtags #diversity and #new #vspink #campaign, referring to Pink, the brand launched in 2002 aimed at younger women.
Erio told reporters, “Valentina believes that this is a great opportunity to break barriers in the fashion business. She wants to contribute to creating a bigger representation for everybody.”
The move marks growth for the lingerie company, as the chief marketing officer recently expressed disinterest in casting transgender models.
Sampaio's hiring comes nearly a year after top executive Ed Razek apologised for implying trans women were not a suitable fit for the VS brand.
Razek, who has now retired, sparked outrage last November when he said in a Vogue interview that the annual Victoria's Secret angels TV special should not include "transsexual" models because "the show is a fantasy".
In a recent apology issued by Razek through Twitter, he stated:
“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he says. “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.”
GLAAD, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, said Ms. Sampaio’s hiring comes as transgender people are becoming more visible in advertising, including in campaigns by Calvin Klein, Gap and H&M.
It's certainly a bold move for the company but a step in the right direction of practicing what they preach and creating a lingerie brand that is truly inclusive. Whilst Victoria’s Secret is still the leading lingerie brand in the United States, they do continue to catch backlash for its lack of diversity but let's see if this move is a step in a new direction for the brand as a whole.