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Victoria's Secret just made major history with its first hire of a transgender model over the weekend.
Brazilian model and actress Valentina Sampaio posted some behind-the-scenes snaps from her Pink photo shoot with the brand on Friday. "Backstage click," she wrote next to a gorgeous shot of herself in the makeup chair. Meanwhile, in a video, she practices her poses, captioning the clip: "Never stop dreaming."
It's been a long time coming for the brand to include a more diverse cast of women, including plus-size and trans models. Just last year, VS's chief marketing officer Ed Razek came under fire for his homogenous hiring practices. "If you're asking if we've considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have," he told Vogue.
"Do I think about diversity? Yes. Does the brand think about diversity? Yes. Do we offer larger sizes? Yes. It's like, why doesn't your show do this? 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. It's a 42-minute entertainment special."
Razek's words didn't sit well with vets Karlie Kloss, Lily Aldridge, and Kendall Jenner who all spoke out against his statement on social media. "Trans and GNC [gender non-conforming] people are not a debate," Lily and Karlie posted to their accounts, while Kendall shared a pin that read, "Celebrate Trans Women."
In the end, Victoria's Secret close-mindedness is what ultimately lost them Kloss. Speaking with British Vogue last month about why she decided to retire her wings, the supermodel said: "I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful."
“I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world,” she concluded.
Perhaps Karlie's walkout served as a wakeup call for the brand.