VICTORIA’S Secret has finally hired its first transgender model days after announcing the cancellation of its annual fashion show.
Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, who is openly transgender, announced the news with an Instagram post with the caption, “Backstage click.”
The post showed her in a white bathrobe while on the set of a photoshoot for the VS Pink brand.
Fellow Victoria’s Secret model Lais Riberiro tweeted that she was “so happy” for Sampaio.
Another celebrity who voiced her support was Orange is the New Black star and LGBTQ advocate Laverne Cox who commented on Sampaio’s post, “Finally!”
It’s not Sampaio’s first modelling gig as she was also the first transgender model to graze the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017.
Previously, Victoria’s Secret faced a lot of criticisms after Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brand, made a transphobic comment in an interview with Vogue last year.
"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."
He added that trans and plus-size models were previously invited to come to castings but ultimately, the models didn’t make it.
Right after the backlash, he apologized via Twitter.
"My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize. To be clear, we would absolutely cast a transgender model for the show."
"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."