Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, Winnie Harlow and Lorena Duran – Victoria's Secret is home to models of all different colours, shapes and sizes.
But Sofía Jirau has made history by becoming the first person with Down syndrome to appear in one of the American lingerie brand's campaigns.
The 24-year-old, who is from Puerto Rico, appeared next to 17 other women as one of the faces of Victoria's Secret’s new line of comfortable bras and underwear, the Love Cloud Collection.
With the collection Victoria's Secret says they hope to “reinforce” the brand with their “commitment to welcoming and celebrating all women”.
“Love Cloud Collection is a major moment in the brand’s evolution. From the cast of incredible women that bring the collection to life, to the incredible inclusive spirit on set, this campaign is an important part of the new Victoria’s Secret standard we are creating,” head creative director Raúl Martinez said a statement.
The campaign comes after Victoria's Secret announced last year they would be getting rid of their Angel title and instead be launching the VS Collective to highlight the “ever-growing group of accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change”.
And the changes have not gone unnoticed.
“About time, is all I can say. About time,” longtime Angel Heidi Klum said at the time.
It's a huge achievement for Sofía, one that she has worked hard for.
“Today it’s a dream come true. I can finally tell you my big secret. I am Victoria’s Secret’s first model with Down syndrome!” she captioned a photo on Instagram.
Sofía’s career took off when she walked the New York Fashion Week (NYFW) in February 2020. “Inside and out there are no limits. You can accomplish your dreams too!” she captioned a picture on her Instagram.
She walked at NYFW for the first time in designer Marisa Santiago’s show and Sofía said she was born for the catwalk.
“I want to show the world that I have everything a model needs to shine,” she says. “One day I looked in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and I’m going to get to New York,’ and look, here I am. I made it and now I want to model worldwide,” Sofía adds.
Though Sofía isn’t the first model with Down syndrome to walk the runway during NYFW, her inclusion in the show and now the Victoria's Secret campaign, is an important moment for people within the Down syndrome and Latina communities, many of whom haven’t historically been represented in fashion, Revelist notes.
In addition to her role as a model, Sofía is a also businesswoman. Her clothing line, Alavett, includes shirts, wallets, mugs and phone cases.
On Alavett’s website, Sofía proudly proclaims the line is her “cry of joy to the world”.
With 274 000 Instagram followers she’s now become a symbol of hope and a reminder that anything is possible, a belief that’s helped her reach this point in her career. Now with this new milestone she wants to help people break through their perceived limitations.
“For me, the most important thing about fulfilling my dreams is to show people around the world that there are no limits and to inspire them to pursue their own dreams,” she says.
SOURCES: INSTAGRAM/SOFIAJIRAU, REVELIST, THEMIGHTY, USMAGAZINE.COM, EDITION.CNN.COM, NEWS.COM. A