Valentina Sampaio is making history as the first openly transgender model for Victoria’s Secret. Sampaio’s agent, Erio Zanon, confirmed that Sampaio had been hired by Victoria’s Secret for a campaign for the PINK line. Sampaio posted an image of herself on Instagram, tagging a Victoria’s Secret account in the post and using the hashtags #vspink, #campaign and #diversity.
Sampaio received many comments on her Instagram post, supporting her new position. These comments include Victoria’s Secret models and LGBTQ+ activists.
The transgender actress, Laverne Cox commented on Sampaio’s post saying, “Wow finally!” Victoria’s Secret Angel, Lais Ribeiro also tweeted: “First transgender to shoot with Vs! This makes me so happy! ❤️”
This new step has broken boundaries as just a year ago, Victoria’s Secret and L Brands’ chief marketing officer Ed Razek, received hate for the lack of diversity in the body types and gender transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Razek’s comment answered the question, “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? Razek replied with, “No. No, I don’t think we should because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” Razek said in an interview.
Not only was this comment demeaning and detrimental to the way Victoria’s Secret is regarded, but the term “transsexuals” is also considered offensive to many members of the LGBTQ community. After the interview, Victoria’s Secret issued an apology on behalf of Razek.
“My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show came across as insensitive. I apologize,” Razek said. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to casting. 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.”
This was not the first time Sampaio has broken boundaries. Two years ago, she modeled on the cover of Vogue Magazine as the first transgender model to cover any edition of Vogue. When the Vogue Paris March 2017 issue came out, Sampaio described her take on fashion.
“The fashion industry is an instrument to raise flags promoting diversity, where things are more fluid and beauty evolves. Fashion is a world that’s freer.”
In the past two years, Sampaio has also covered, Elle Mexico and starred in multiple L’Oréal Paris campaigns. Sampaio plans to continue to show off her modeling skills and empower the transgender community in her future opportunities. She now asks industry professionals around the world to create more opportunities for transgender people.
“It’s not the gender of a person that determines your character or whether you’re good at something or not,” she added in an interview. “Many times transgender women find the doors are already closed for them professionally, which only marginalizes us further — but everyone has something to show.” Sampaio said.