Victoria’s Secret hired its first openly transgender model.
22-year-old Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio has been hired to model for Victoria’s Secret’s Pink. She says she hopes to “break barriers” in the fashion industry and “contribute to a bigger representation for everybody.”
Sampaio’s casting comes nine months after Ed Razek, former executive at Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands, said in a November 2018 interview that there’s no “interest” in casting plus size or transgender models.
“It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? Shouldn’t you have transsexuals [sic] in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he stated while speaking with Vogue. “Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.”
Razek later apologized for his comments.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” he said in an official statement. “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.”
Razek’s retirement was announced on the same day Sampaio’s agent confirmed her casting.