How’s this for fantasy, Victoria’s Secret?
In a rebuke to the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, trans YouTube star Nikita Dragun posted a video on Twitter of herself modeling celestial wings, barely-there lingerie, and a whole lot of swagger to show that trans women can be sexy.
dear Victoria’s Secret,
you said trans women can’t sell the “fantasy” so here i am as a TRANS WOMAN selling the FANTASY! 👼🏻 pic.twitter.com/rKQHp7SLNq
— Nikita Dragun (@NikitaDragun) December 5, 2018
“Dear Victoria’s Secret,” she wrote. “You said trans women can’t sell the ‘fantasy’ so here I am as a trans woman selling the fantasy.” The response has been heavenly: In 24 hours, the 40-second clip has almost 4 million views and thousands of shares.
Dragun’s video follows a wave of criticism against the Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show and the brand’s lack of inclusivity. In November, Ed Razek, the chief marketing officer of L Brands, which owns Victoria’s Secret, said in an interview that the company doesn’t cast trans and plus-size models because “the show is a fantasy,” implying that there’s a singular ideal for a woman’s physical appearance.
“I’m here to prove Ed Razek wrong and show that any woman —trans, plus-size, whatever her age — can serve fantasy,” Dragun tells Makers. “Every single woman is beautifully unique, and the sexiest thing she can do is own her curves, embrace her differences and stand tall in exactly who she is.”
Dragun says she put together the video in just three days to make one thing clear: “The message here that every woman needs to hear is you are beautiful, you are sexy, and you are worthy. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.”
Following days of public reprimanding, Razek walked back his comments and issued an apology. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings … and like any others, they didn’t make it,” he wrote. “It was never about gender. I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM
— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
Dragun is not the only woman speaking out about the annual Victoria’s Secret spectacle. Within hours of the show airing on ABC on Dec. 2, body-positive activist Ashley Graham posted photos on Instagram of plus-size models posing in her lingerie fashion show with the hashtag #BeautyBeyondSize. People of all sizes also strutted through Times Square for the second annual Real Catwalk event, a social movement which invites women (and men!) of all different shapes, races and backgrounds to participate.
And Halsey, who performed at the event when it was taped in New York City earlier this year, shared a statement on Instagram reacting to the comments against the brand.
“After I filmed the performance, some comments were made regarding the show that I simply cannot ignore,” Halsey wrote. “As a member of the LGBTQ+ community, I have no tolerance for a lack of inclusivity. Especially not one motivated by stereotype.”
“If you are a trans person reading this, and these comments have made you feel alienated or invalidated, please know that you have allies. We stand in solidarity … and complete and total acceptance is the only ‘fantasy’ that I support.”
Read more from MAKERS:
- This touch-sensitive dress records how often women are groped at clubs: ‘A woman is not an animal to be captured’
- People model lingerie in Times Square to challenge body stereotypes perpetuated by Victoria’s Secret
- Ashley Graham shares sexy photos celebrating size diversity in response to Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show