Victoria’s Secret has hired its first ever male-to-female transgender model to promote its lingerie line.
Valentina Sampaio of Brazil was hired by the lingerie company less than a year after one of its executives came under fire for making remarks about transgender people walking in its annual fashion show.
Dailywire.com reports: Speculation as to Sampaio’s inclusion among the Victoria’s Secret roster began when the transgender model posted a photo of himself at a shoot with “VS Pink” on Instagram. Shortly thereafter, the Brazilian model Lais Ribeiro tweeted that she was “so happy” that Sampaio experienced his first photoshoot with Victoria’s Secret.
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The inclusion of Sampaio comes months after L. Brands’ (parent company of Victoria’s Secret) Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek sparked the ire of social justice leftists when he told Vogue that little interest exists for plus-size and trans models on the runway.
“I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have,” Razek said, adding that the sister division, Lane Bryant, was created to fill that consumer need.
“We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant,” he continued. “Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we.”
“We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” he said. “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”
After significant backlash on social media, Razek later apologized, admitting his comments on trans models were “insensitive.”
“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 absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. 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.”
Shortly thereafter, People confirmed that Victoria’s Secret’s CEO Jan Singer would be leaving the company, though no details were provided as to why. A week later, L Brands’ chairman and chief executive officer Leslie H. Wexner released a statement saying, “I wish Jan well. I greatly appreciate her passion and know she will succeed in whatever she pursues next. We appreciate all that she brought to the brand.”
In 2017, Playboy broke barriers when the magazine introduced their first-ever transgender playmate — Ines Rau. The move drew immediate criticism on social media, with former porn star Jenna Jameson leading the way.
“I have a problem with it just like I have a problem with a transgender competing against biological women in sports,” Jameson tweeted. “I think it’s setting fire to an iconic brand and pandering to this ridiculous PC world we live in.”
Deflecting the criticism, Playboy went as far as to compare Ines Rau to the magazine’s first black playmate in 1965.
The magazine Vanity Fair, of course, helped spark the trend by featuring Caitlyn Jenner on its cover in 2015.