Victoria's Secret has winged another angel, Valentina Sampaio. This makes Valentina the first openly transgender model to join the VS Angels.
Before there was any real confirmation, the 22-year-old model posted a picture on Instagram captioned, “Backstage click @vspink” with the hashtags “#new #vspink #campaign #diversity.” Later, CNN verified that she is, in fact, a new addition to the VS team.
This comes as great news being that Victoria's Secret was under fire after the company’s chief marketing officer, Ed Razek, made a comment on the lingerie company’s plus size and transgender inclusivity.
He said, “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes… It's like, why doesn't your show do this? Shouldn't you have transexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should… the show is a fantasy.”
After receiving much backlash, Victoria's Secret seems to be taking a progressive step forward by including Valentina.
So, who is Victoria's Secret's newest angel, Valentina Sampaio?
Valentina grew up in a small fishing town in Northern Brazil. At 12, the Victoria's Secret model identified as transgender. She says she was supported throughout her journey by her family and community.
Before she became a model, Valentina went to school to study architecture but eventually dropped out and pursued fashion.
In her pursuit of fashion, Valentina fell in love with modeling. However, her first gig wasn’t an ideal start for the model. Without naming the company, she said she was fired from an ad campaign because the company was afraid of how their demographic would have responded to a transgender model.
However, fast forward to today and Valentina is one of the most noted transgender models who has broken down many barriers in the model industry.
Valentina made history before her VS gig.
Aside from her recent job with Victoria's Secret, Valentina had a history-changing moment with Vogue. In 2017, Valentina became the first transgender model to star on the cover of any edition of Vogue.
The Brazilian model appeared on the March 2017 issue of Vogue Paris. After her breakthrough, she later landed a gig on the cover of both Vogue Germany and from her home country, Vogue Brazil.
In Nov. 2016, Valentina became the second transgender model to appear on ELLE Brazil following model Lea T. This past June, Valentina was on the cover of ELLE Mexico. Aside from those milestones, the young model modeled with L’Oreal on a 2017 campaign with Balmain x L’Oreal.
People have been extremely supportive of Valentina’s new position.
Valentina isn’t one to hide her identity away from the world. She is extremely vocal and proud on all platforms — as she should be. In celebration of her success, other celebrities and models came together to support the model. Transgender actress and Orange Is The New Black’s Laverne Cox said, “Wow finally!”
Victoria's Secret Angel, Lais Ribeiro tweeted, “First transgender to shoot with Vs! This makes me so happy!”
This is definitely a celebration, indeed. Congratulations, Valentina, on the ground-breaking accomplishments you've made!