In a landmark move, in a first, Victoria’s Secret has cast an openly transgender woman and hired the Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio for a catalog photo shoot, her agent Erio Zanon said, The New York Times reported.
Zanon was speaking to the media on Monday when confirmed to CNN saying Sampaio, 22, had been hired for catalogue work for VS Pink, the company’s athletic line. He said Sampaio “believes that this is a great opportunity to break barriers” in the fashion business “and to contribute to a bigger representation for everybody.”
“Never stop dreaming,” Sampaio wrote on Instagram
She posted a behind-the-scenes picture of herself.
Sampaio’s selection was milestone for the industry. She has been receiving support ever since. A fellow Brazilian Victoria’s Secret model, Lais Ribeiro, also took to Twitter to share her excitement about the hire.
First transgender to shoot with Vs! This make me so happy! ❤️ pic.twitter.com/JydOd2mFQb
— Lais Ribeiro (@Lalaribeiro16) August 3, 2019
“Wow finally!” Laverne Cox, who has spoken publicly about her own breakthroughs as a transgender actress, wrote on Sampaio’s Instagram post.
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Sampaio’s appointment follows a controversy from 2018 when a transphobic comment from Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of the lingerie company’s parent organization, L-Brand, made headlines. Razek was widely criticised for the comment of “no interest” in casting transgender models. He later apologised for the remark. On Monday, the company announced that Razek was retiring.
In November, Razek was quoted saying “he did not think the company needed to cast models who are “transsexuals” in Victoria’s Secret shows.” He later apologised, saying on the company’s Twitter account that his remark “came across as insensitive.”
“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he said. “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.”
Feature Image Credit: qz.com