Victoria’s Secret Praises for Returning to the Runway with Trans Models

Side by side pictures of TikTok star and model Emira D'Spain in red outfits

Lingerie brand Victoria’s Secret is bringing back its runway show after a four-year hiatus – and aims to be more inclusive by showcasing trans and plus-size models.

The show is best known for featuring a host of supermodels – including Gigi Hadid, Naomi Campbell, Heidi Klum and Gisele Bundchen – who have been dubbed “angels” and sported dramatic winged ensembles on the catwalk.

In a bid to win back its client base after a ratings slump in 2019, Victoria’s Secret will launch a “new version” of its show to “take back one of our best marketing and entertainment propositions and turn it on its head to reflect who we are.” today,” said his bosses.

Trans models Valentina Sampaio and Emira D’Spain – the latter made history last year as the first black trans model to work with the clothing and beauty retailer – will star in the upcoming show, according to the Daily Star.

“Seeing a trans model on the Victoria’s Secret Show inspires me”

Trans comedian and model Stacy Cay told PinkNews it is “absolutely necessary” for the show to include trans women in order to achieve inclusion.

“Trans women thrive in high fashion shows and not having any of us in the lineup is a choice. We’re tall, we have wild features, and we belong on every runway,” Cay said.

“It was nice to see Brazilian trans model Valentina Sampaio in various Victoria’s Secret commercials, but it feels like they’re hiding her a bit.

“I’ve never seen her in an ad in her physical stores, and I’m concerned that it’s about reducing backlash by featuring a trans model. The average person would never know that Valentina is trans, but I do and seeing her up there inspires me every time.”

Plus-size models Candice Huffine, Devyn Garcia and Paloma Elsesser will also perform at the show, alongside Nigerian model Mayowa Nicholas and Bella Hadid, Taylor Hill, Adut Akech and Imaan Hammam.

The lineup also includes the brand’s first ambassador with Down syndrome, Sofia Jirau, who became a Victoria’s Secret model in February 2022.

Other stars set to appear in the rebooted show include Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka.

“I remember talking about how I’ve never seen anyone who looked like me,” Osaka said of her shot. “I thought it would be amazing to change the angle.”

Brazilian trans model Valentina Sampaio. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)
Brazilian trans model Valentina Sampaio. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and legendary queer soccer star Megan Rapinoe will also perform.

After years of criticism, Victoria’s Secret has embraced inclusivity in 2020 with its Body by Victoria line. The campaign featured Sampaio, Huffine and Solange van Doorn.

Sampaio became the first trans model to work with Victoria’s Secret when she shot a campaign for the lingerie brand’s pink line in 2019.

Despite the brand’s good intentions to be inclusive, many are wondering how well it will fare against Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty, which released a line of men’s underwear loved by queers last year.

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Adam Bradshaw

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