A year after a Victoria’s Secret executive vowed to exclude “transsexuals” from fashion shows, the underwear brand has officially hired its first openly transgender model.
Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio confirmed her partnership with the clothing giant on Instagram Thursday, posting a backstage snap of herself at a Victoria’s Secret photo shoot. Her caption included the brand’s Instagram handle for its “Pink” collection along with the hashtags #new, #vspink, #campaign, #representavidade (roughly translating to “representation” in English), #beauty, #diversity and #vstorm.
According to CNN, Sampaio’s agent has clarified that she had been hired by Victoria’s Secret for a campaign, to be released in mid-August, for Pink.
Sampaio’s announcement comes about a year after Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, sparked a backlash for making transphobic comments. In a 2018 interview with Vogue, Razek said trans models should not be included in the “Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show” and referred to the trans community as “transsexuals.” He also added that “no one had any interest” in a show featuring plus-size models.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?” he said. “No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.”
Razek later apologized for his comments in a statement posted from Victoria’s Secret’s Twitter, which said the company would “absolutely cast a transgender model for the show.”
Sampaio now has the potential to make history as the first trans model to walk the VS runway. On Saturday, she shared a selfie video captioned “never stop dreaming.” Sampaio has previously modeled for L’Oreal Paris and Vogue Brasil.
A representative for Sampaio did not immediately respond to a request for comment.