Washington D.C: American beauty brand Victoria Secret has reportedly hired a transgender model, Valentina Sampaio for their fashion show, reported The Hollywood Reporter.
The Brazilian model shared a picture on Instagram from the sets of a photoshoot for the "VS Pink" sub-brand. "Backstage click," she captioned the picture , where she could be seen in a white bathrobe.
Fellow Brazilian Victoria's Secret model Lais Ribeiro, also tweeted in congratulating Sampaio. Ribeiro said that she was "so happy" for Sampaio. "First transgender to shoot with Vs." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Sampaio has already made progress in the fashion industry, as she was the first transgender model to grace the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017.
News of Sampaio joining the brand comes less than a year after the lingerie company faced backlash after an executive commented about transgender people walking in its annual fashion show in an interview with Vogue as reported by The Hollywood Reporter.
Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of Victoria's Secret's parent company L Brand, was asked to elaborate on the statement that why the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show does not include transgender or plus-size models for ramp walk.
In his response, Razek said that trans and plus-size women do not symbolise "fantasy" that the lingerie brand is trying to sell.
"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," he told the publication and as reported by The Hollywood Reporter. "It's a 42-minute entertainment special. That's what it is," he added.
Razek also said that he along with the brand team had previously thought of casting trans and plus-size models but ultimately they decided to drop the plan.
A day after Razek's comments ignited public scrutiny, Victoria's Secret shared an apology via Twitter. "My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive," he said in a statement.
"I apologize. To be clear, we would absolutely cast a transgender model for the show." He added, "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."