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Victoria's Secret is 'redefining sexy' by replacing their Angel supermodels with these 7 women

By CHUCK SMITH Published Jun 17, 2021 3:23 pm

For years, lingerie and clothing line Victoria’s Secret has relied on their Victoria’s Secret Angels to promote their brand—and, as a result, defining (and limiting) people’s perception towards female beauty.

Now, the iconic Angels of the US lingerie brand are saying goodbye.

According to a New York Times report on Wednesday, June 16, Victoria’s Secret is doing away with their supermodel Angels in an “effort to redefine the version of sexy” that the brand represents to its consumers.

To replace them are women who are famous not for their body but “for their achievements”: soccer star Megan Rapinoe; freestyle skier Eileen Gu; biracial model Paloma Elsesser; Indian actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas; model Adut Akech; journalist Amanda de Cadenet; LGBTQIA+ activist and model Valentina Sampaio.

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This is a complete departure from the usual supermodel Victoria’s Secret used to tap to promote their brand—specifically for their popular Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Notable celebrities and models who have been Victoria’s Secret Angels include Tyra Banks, Gisele Bündchen, Rosie Hungtington-Whiteley, Heidi Klum, and Adriana Lima, among others.

The women who are part of the new Victoria’s Secret campaign will be called the VS Collective.

In the New York Times report, Victoria’s Secret chief executive Martin Waters admitted that the brand has been “too slow to respond” to a world that is coming to embrace a more inclusive concept of beauty, one that is less toward the male gaze and male desire, and more about what women really look like.

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She added, “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”

In the same New York Times report, Megan Rapinoe said that the previous strategy of Victoria’s Secret to sell the brand through the male lens was “really harmful. “(It was) patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired. And it was very much marketed toward younger women,” she said.

While Victoria’s Secret will still sell its well-known sexy lingerie, it will also expand to other areas of clothing such as sportswear.  

Victoria's Secret has been criticized in the past for the lack of diversity and narrow representation of the female body in its annual fashion show; the show was cancelled in 2019. 

The brand was also criticized in 2018 when Ed Razek, an executive at Victoria's Secret former mother company L Brands, said it will not include trans and plus-size models for its campaigns. 

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said. “Well, why not? Because the show is 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, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”