Victoria’s Secret hires first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio

I was surprised and happy when I saw this news yesterday: Victoria’s Secret announced that it hired its first openly transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, who will work for its PINK brand:

[Valentina] Sampaio’s agent, Erio Zanon, confirmed to Entertainment Tonight that Sampaio will be featured in the upcoming PINK campaign that will be released in mid-August.

“Of course she is very happy for it and she hopes that it shall continue to break barriers and to make a step to more inclusivity and representation for everybody,” Zanon said.

Sampaio first shared the news with a photo and video of herself at a Victoria’s Secret photoshoot.

She received a number of supportive comments including a message from Victoria’s Secret Angel Lais Ribeiro, who tweeted, “First transgender to shoot with Vs! This make me so happy!”

Former Angel Lily Aldridge commented a series of hearts on Sampaio’s post, while actor Laverne Cox shared, “Wow finally!”

The 22-year-old was the first transgender model to be featured on the cover of Vogue Paris in March 2017 and has walked the runway for numerous designers. She previously auditioned for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2018.

[From] notes that this welcome news comes several months after the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, Ed Razek, made bigoted, transphobic, and sizeist remarks about both the company’s clothing offerings and about the models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (which will no longer be airing on network television):

“So it’s like, why don’t you do 50?” he told Vogue, referring to sizing. “Why don’t you do 60? Why don’t you do 24? It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals [sic] 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.”

[From Vogue via]

Razek gave that interview to Vogue in November, and on Monday, employees were notified that he would be retiring. Good riddance to him. I can’t figure out whether he decided to retire now, or it was “suggested” to him that maybe that would be a good idea. I’ve not paid a lot of attention to Victoria’s Secret for a while because I’m not in their targeted customer base (and even when I was, most everything cost more money than I wanted to spend on a single item of clothing unless they were having a sale). I’m thrilled that they’ve hired Valentina, though, and maybe it means that the company might slowly start to evolve away from selling the single incredibly narrow definition of “fantasy” that it’s been pedaling forever, though I doubt it.

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32 Responses to “Victoria’s Secret hires first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio”

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  1. Peg says:

    Victoria Secret stores at Malls are getting smaller and smaller.

    • A random commenter says:

      They’re dying off, thank god. The products are cheaply made and tacky as hell and they market to a very narrow range of women. They aren’t even having an annual fashion show this year. Add to that their exec’s close ties to Epstein…I think Victoria’s Secret is toast, whether they wanna admit it or not.

    • whatWHAT? says:

      yup, agree with random commenter. they are losing out to brands that make bras that actually FIT AND SUPPORT and are COMFORTABLE, regardless of what size you are.

      VS was started as a store for women to buy what MEN wanted to see.

  2. teehee says:

    “its a 42 minute fantasy show” — only men are actually thinking its real.

  3. Jekelly says:

    Hopefully they will start showing plus sized bodies next…

    • whatWHAT? says:

      they have to start making plus size merchandise, which will probably NEVER happen with this brand.

      it’s nice to see how many brands ARE moving to more size inclusion, but VS?…doubt it.

    • Wisca says:

      The hatred of women’s fat knows no bounds. And let us remember, Jeffery Epstein was in the owner’s ear giving him advice on VS marketing. The hatred of adult women with fat on their bodies (other than their breasts) is built into the brand.

  4. SKF says:

    Several thoughts:

    1. Too little too late most likely

    2. The owner of L Brands is heavily hooked up with Jeffrey Epstein. No thanks!

    3. Congrats to this beautiful woman; big moment for her!!!

    4. I wonder if it is a bit weird for Sara Sampaio though because they look like twins.

    5. I find VS SO odd because they have spent the money having stores everywhere internationally – including super expensive airport real estate; and yet outside of the US none of those stores actually sell lingerie of any sort. They only sell perfume and other random cr-p. It is so weird and such a waste of money and marketing power. I will never understand it.

  5. perplexed says:

    “I’m thrilled that they’ve hired Valentina, though, and maybe it means that the company might slowly start to evolve away from selling the single incredibly narrow definition of “fantasy” that it’s been pedaling forever, though I doubt it.”

    Won’t the fantasy aspect still be narrow? Would it be easier for a transgender model to maintain a very slim weight with a tall, slim build? If that’s the case, I don’t think a lot of regular people would be able to meet that standard. I could never look like the model above, either height-wise, body-wise or cheekbone-wise (not that it matters to me anyway, since that was always unattainable for me, but I don’t see how the fantasy aspect would be widened, regardless of who you hire. It provides representation, but the beauty ideal is still narrow).

  6. Alexandria says:

    Good. But I can never look like them anyway. I don’t buy Victoria’s Secret, never got the appeal of their products.

  7. Mrs. Peel says:

    All I can say is she is absolutely gorgeous.

  8. Lala11_7 says:

    Marginalized people ALWAYS gotta sleep with the enemy…

    It’s SO exhausting….

  9. Jess says:

    Good for her and yes, she is gorgeous. But I’m hoping Victoria’s Secret dies off soon. I read a great article recently about it – I think in the Cut – about the owner’s tied to Epstein, this marketing guy’s offensive comments, and how the entire operation is all about women as seen through the male gaze and how (thank god) that doesn’t play well in 2019. It just needs to go.

  10. Cousin Chrissy says:

    I guess Victoria really has a secret now haha. Sorry not much of a joke, but you know they’ll be memes if there aren’t already

  11. Pixie says:

    Congrats to her, but this is the most obvious pr marketing spin ever. VS is struggling, and lately there has been article after article discussing how the brand is dying out and how they have been unable to relate to a changing landscape where people are no longer interested in male gaze fantasy bs (PLUS, the Epstein stuff). So, ding ding ding here comes the virtue signalling. Hiring one transgender model isn’t going to change the fact people no longer care about VS, and for good reason.

    • alternative fact says:

      Oh people are still interested in male gaze fantasy. Almost every product for women is filtered through the male gaze. VS just didn’t pick up on the ways objectification was changing fast enough.

      • Pixie says:

        @alternativefact Yeah, you’re right. They didn’t realize we moved away from that super obvious sort of objectification, to a subtler kind of ‘sex positivity’ faux feminist objectification. Plus, we are moving away from the super white, super skinny minimal curves, Eurocentric form of beauty to a slightly different, even less attainable kind of beauty.

      • alternative fact says:

        @Pixie Yep! They missed the memo that the models need to be talking about how not eating or drinking water for long periods of time before a show just helps them be extra empowered.
        I think women’s beauty standards have crossed all the way over to uncanny valley territory at this point.

  12. ChillyWilly says:

    Valentina is stunning and I wish her lots of success but VS can eff off. It makes me sick that most of my high school wardrobe in the 80’s came from The Limited and Express. I helped this turd Wexner become a billionaire pedophile.

    • CL says:

      Girl, me too! Both wardrobe and disgust!
      I just couldn’t quit those shaker knit sweaters and the entire Outback Red line……

  13. launicaangelina says:

    She’s stunning!

  14. NotSoSocialButterfly says:

    She looked like Nepotism Gerber in the homepage thumbnail photo to me at first (but much, much prettier)!!
    Also, who would design a dress through which you can see a nipple? Seriously?

  15. Samab says:

    VS is tacky,and always has been.Given that,good for you sampaio, you look beautiful

  16. Cupcake says:

    She looks exactly like the type of models they always hire.

    • Harryg says:

      Agree, she’s stunning, but nearly all their models have that “16-year-old” look.
      Victoria’s Secret is a dinosaur and should go away.

  17. JanetFerber says:

    Yes, she’s gorgeous and congrats to her. And yes the whole organization needs to go away forever. The leggy, super-tall sexy teenage girl look is so deleterious to the 99% of us who do not look that way.

  18. alternative fact says:

    VS is trying to divert attention from the fact that major players in its company funded Jeffrey “Lolita Express” Epstein’s cross country rape tours for years. The only people in this scenario who benefit are VS and (I guess) Valentina. Widening the scope of male objectification should not be considered a progressive cause.

  19. Grey says:

    Yay! People of all sexes get to be objectified in tacky, cheap, sweatshop-made attire!