Just last week, hundreds of models flocked to the Big Apple in hopes of booking one of the most coveted jobs of a model’s career: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Captured, were flicks of each and every girl entering and exiting Victoria’s Secret’s iconic headquarters in Manhattan, each girl the poster child for what the world thinks of when they think of a Victoria’s Secret model: tall, pretty, cisgender, and skinny. In recent years, Victoria’s Secret has made leaps in terms of racial diversity on their runway. However, diversity of body types and gender in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show continues to be non-existent. Not one girl who attended the callbacks or booked the show wore above a size 14, which is what 68% of American women wear. Not one woman who attended the callbacks or booked the show was a transgender woman. This is just shocking to me. It’s 2018, and women that don’t wear less than a size 4 or are transgender don’t even get the chance to attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show castings!
I think a subtle step in the right direction on Victoria’s Secret’s part was having Sofia Jamora at their casting this year. Sofia Jamora is a curvy model who has gained popularity from modeling for multiple Instagram driven stores that offer plus-size and curvy clothes, such as FashionNova, Pretty Little Thing, and Boohoo. Almost all of her work in the fashion industry has been commercial (except for some runway opportunities with the more body inclusive cousin to New York Fashion Week: Swim Week).
When I saw that Sofia Jamora was invited to attend castings I hoped that she would book the show and add some body diversity to the runway with her curves. However, Sofia was weeded out and did not get a callback, something I hope did not have to do with her curves. The team behind Victoria’s Secret is known to make their decisions on models based on whether or not they fit the aesthetic or general feel for that year’s show, so hopefully their decision to not include Sofia was based on that rather than her curves. One of the most well-known plus size models in the world, Ashley Graham, has voiced her opinion on the lack of plus size models in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show in the past, showing just how much of an issue this lack of inclusion is. I know of so many plus-size models that have killer walks and personalities that could truly rock the Victoria’s Secret fashion show and be role models for the girls that look like them — to show the world that beauty and sexiness have no weight or size.
As mentioned earlier, no non-cisgender women were invited to attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show castings this year. Not even after, Leyna Bloom, a black and transgender model, made headlines after speaking on her push to become the first transgender model of color to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, earlier this year.
Leyna was not even invited to attend castings, which shows blatant exclusivity on Victoria’s Secret’s team’s part. With the rise of acceptance and representation of transgender people in the media in recent years, many transgender models have been breaking barriers in the fashion industry. In addition to Leyna, there are so many transgender models that have amazing walks and personalities that could truly reinvent this show and show the world that not only cis gender women are beautiful and sexy. It would be so touching and empowering to have transgender women walking the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, allowing transgender women to feel represented and accepted in a space where they have been historically excluded.
We see Victoria’s Secret’s models on posters in our malls, pop-up advertisements on our computer screens, and billboards on our streets — virtually everywhere. Every November, we see the Victoria’s Secret models gracefully strut down the runway for Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show, capturing everyone’s attention and exemplifying what the world finds sexy. However, these models that are considered some of the most beautiful women on the planet, lack of inclusiveness when it comes to featuring models of bigger sizes and different genders. Victoria’s Secret needs to do better and start promoting beauty in not just skinny bodies and cis gender women. Every woman deserves a pair of wings.
Image: Donna Moderna