Victoria's Secret has cast Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, an openly transgender woman, for a catalog photo shoot. This announcement marks the first time Victoria's Secret has cast a transgender person for a catalog or brand campaign. Does this mean the lack of diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry is finally changing?
In the past, Victoria's Secret CMO, Ed Razek, has caught flack for expressing a lack of interest in casting transgender and plus-size models. The company recently announced that Mr. Razek was leaving the company, in part because of his problematic comments. Recently, the brand has received criticism for being old fashioned and out of touch. The Victoria's Secret has lost a significant market share to brands like Fashion Nova and Savage X Fenty. Recently, Karlie Kloss left Victoria's Secret because "The kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful." The change in leadership and casting practices has been seen by many as overdue.
In 2017, Playboy cast the first-ever transgender cover model. On top of that, the brand's GAP and H&M have both created campaigns featuring LGBTQ models. So this move by Victoria's Secret could be seen as a catalyst for casting trends in the apparel advertising industry.
Lead photo by WestportWiki used under Creative Commons.