Victoria’s Secret hired openly transgender model Valentina Sampaio for a photo shoot, the model’s agent
told the New York Times — a first for the women’s underwear brand.

Agent Erio Zanon told the paper Monday that the 22-year-old from Brazil will do catalog work for VS Pink — the company’s athletic line — and that Sampaio “believes that this is a great opportunity to break barriers” in the fashion business “and to contribute to a bigger representation for everybody.”

Controversy

Ed Razek, chief marketing officer of L Brands — the parent company of Victoria’s Secret — said in an interview with Vogue last fall that he didn’t believe “transsexuals” should be in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, as it’s “a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is. It is the only one of its kind in the world …”

The next day Razek apologized, saying his words “came across as insensitive.”

“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he noted. “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.”

On Monday L Brands announced Razek is retiring, the Times said in a separate story. The paper added that a Victoria’s Secret representative did not respond to requests for comment.

More from the Times:

GLAAD, which promotes lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender issues, said Ms. Sampaio’s hiring comes as transgender people are becoming more visible in advertising, including in campaigns by Calvin Klein, Gap and H&M.


Playboy’s
first transgender Playmate appeared in 2017, and Geena Rocero, a transgender woman, was featured in the magazine this summer.

Victoria’s Secret is still a leading lingerie brand in the United States, but its share of the market has fallen as it tries to keep up with the times.

Its fashion shows featuring skinny models, thongs and push-up bras have often been criticized as sexist and out of touch, and new lingerie start-ups, including Third Love and Savage X Fenty, are rising as competitors that embrace inclusivity.


Valentina Sampaio Hired As Victoria’s Secret’s First Openly Transgender Model

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