Updated on October 12, 2019 at 9:04 a.m.
Yesterday, blogger Alysse Dalessandro called out on Twitter that while Victoria Secret's new plus-size model Ali Tate Cutler refers to herself as a "body activist" she had reportedly written fat-shaming comments on a post Dalessandro shared on Facebook in 2016. Tate Cutler allegedly said that, "Being obese is simply bad for the environment."
In response to the statements Tate Cutler allegedly made, the model shared a statement with Teen Vogue saying, "Right now in my life, I am very happy to have the opportunity to be part of a ground breaking moment within the curve industry by continuing to push the visual narrative. In this industry, its normal to face rejection as it’s part of the game and through that I have grown internally and gained self awareness about the messages I put out into the world."
She then went onto say, "Growth is an integral part of being human and I have learned that’s its important for all to feel internal and external love and value. I am proud to be able to share my journey and lessons that I have learned while contributing to the movement of being comfortable being yourself at any point of your life, at any size."
WWD reports that a new campaign has hit select Victoria's Secret stores as part of a collaboration with British lingerie designer Emily Bendell and her line Bluebella. Four models are shown in the new ads, including transgender model May Simón Lifschitz and plus-size model Ali Tate Cutler. (Olivia Sang and Laura Rakhman-Kidd also appear in the imagery.)
While the collection and its corresponding imagery isn't in every single Victoria's Secret show, it does appear in seven locations across the U.S. and United Kingdom, including the New York flagship store on Fifth Avenue. (You can shop the entire Bluebella collaboration online. “It has been wonderful working with Emily and the entire Bluebella team on the campaign,” a Victoria's Secret spokesperson told WWD. “We are excited to feature these amazing models in bringing this collaboration to life.”
The new campaign comes on the heels of an ongoing controversy surrounding the lingerie retailer, which began when controversial fatphobic and transphobic comments from Ed Razek, CMO of Victoria's Secret's parent company L Brands, surfaced in November 2018 regarding the brand's lack of inclusivity during the Victoria's Secret runway show. “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy,” he said. "We attempted to do a television special for plus sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it — still don’t." His remarks led many fashion insiders, including Victoria's Secret models and employees, to speak out against the brand. Razek has since retired, and Victoria's Secret model Shanina Shaik said the 2019 show has reportedly been canceled as the brand figures out its next move.
The Bluebella campaign is a step in the right direction, as is their reported hiring of transgender model Valentina Sampaio. Tate Cutler, who previously starred in Reformation's campaign for its permanent plus-size line, announced her new gig in a post on Instagram, writing, "I believe I’m the first size 14 on Victoria's Secret? Regardless I’m pretty stoked to work with a brand I idolized when I was a teen. Great step in the right direction for bodies."
However, blogger Alysse Dalessandro posted on Twitter that while Tate Cutler refers to herself as a "body activist" in her Instagram bio, she had reportedly written fat-shaming comments on a post Dalessandro shared on Facebook in 2016. "Being obese is simply bad for the environment," Tate Cutler allegedly wrote.
Teen Vogue has reached out to Victoria's Secret and Bluebella for comment.
Originally Appeared on Teen Vogue