Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio is the first openly transgender woman to be cast by lingerie giant, Victoria's Secret. As a result, she believes her Victoria's Secret casting is a "hugely important moment."
This comes a few months after Jan Singer, Victoria's Secret Lingerie's CEO resigned following a disastrous interview with their chief marketing officer Ed Razek where he said he wasn't prepared to include plus size or trans models in shows.
A rather cringe remark, to say the least.
Last year, over 50 models were confirmed to walk in the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and 18 of those women were first timers to the event.
It was later revealed that Kelsey Merritt would become the first Filipino model to feature in the show and that Winnie Harlow, former America’s Next Top Model contestant who was rejected previously, would also strut her stuff for the first time.
Duckie Thot also shared on Instagram that she would be appearing in the show with a video and the caption saying “words can’t express how much this means to me, thank you @victoriassecret for the opportunity of a lifetime. This moment means the world. Always believe you can do anything #vsfashionshow”
Josie Canseco, Mayowa Nicholas, Sabah Koj, Willow Hand, Sofie Rovenstine, Isilda Moreira, Myrthe Bolt, Yasmin Wijnaldum, Cheyenne Maya, Mélie Tiacoh, Lesha Hodges, Lorena Rae, Maia Cotton, Sadie Newman, Kelsey Merritt, and Alannah Walton are also all new editions to the show this year.
The 2018 line up was rather racially diverse – a celebration in anything fashion related since it’s been taking the industry such a long time to represent women who are not white.
In 2015, Maria Borges wore her natural hair in an afro instead of wearing extensions and in 2017 there was a record breaking number of Chinese models included in the show. But there’s still one glaringly obvious problem here – where are all the big girls?
The brand makes pieces up to size XL and their bras come as large as 40DDD so they clearly know that there’s a larger audience of women out there who are not the size of these tiny waisted models. So why do they not get any representation?
There are many plus sized models who would look amazing with a set of wings, from Ashley Graham to Robyn Lawley to Tara Lynn, but it looks like we’re not going to see any body diversity just yet.
Not all looks bleak for fashion and plus sized women though. Recently, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) in conjunction with plus-size retailer Dia&Co announced at CurvyCon that they were launching a campaign to fund size-inclusive fashion education programs.
Refinery29 says that #TeeUpChange is anchored by a series of limited-edition graphic T-shirts, each bearing a powerful message chosen by the people leading the charge on inclusivity in the industry including rapper Lizzo, emerging designer Marissa Petteruti, designers and CFDA board members Tracy Reese and Christian Siriano, and tennis champion, designer, and entrepreneur Venus Williams.
But if you can’t buy a shirt and still want to support the project, you can still share the campaign on social media. For every social post using #TeeUpChange with the tag @diaandco, Dia&Co will donate $1 (R15) toward the initiative.
It looks like fashion might just get a little bigger and more inclusive in the years to come.
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