Victoria's Secret says it's 'not here to dictate how to define beauty for anyone’ in new campaign

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Victoria's Secret continues to distance itself from its past of angels and fantasies with a new campaign titled "Undefinable."

The latest video includes the voices of models Bella Hadid, Paloma Elsesser and Valentina Sampaio. It also puts a spotlight on artist Brittany Spencer, Paralympian Femita Ayanbeku and model and activist Bethann Hardison as the group of women talks about their past and present ideas of femininity.

"I was taught that sexy was about your body, the way that your boobs looked in a push up bra," Hadid, who has walked the infamous Victoria's Secret runway as an Angel multiple times before, said.

Model Bella Hadid and Paralympic athlete Femita Ayanbeku star in the brand's latest campaign. (Photo provided by Victoria's Secret)
Model Bella Hadid and Paralympic athlete Femita Ayanbeku star in the brand's latest campaign. (Photo provided by Victoria's Secret)

Spencer added, "I just didn't see a whole lot of people that look like me. I was down on myself a lot about how I look."

The latest campaign, which launched on Monday, is meant to "cement our brand positioning and our commitment to our revolution and transformation," Raúl Martinez, EVP, head creative director at Victoria's Secret, said in a statement provided to Yahoo Life. "This particular campaign goes beyond one season – and is about our ongoing commitment to celebrating all women and every unique layer that makes them who they are. We are not here to dictate how to define beauty for anyone but instead we are here to celebrate how they define beauty on their own terms."

The brand's CEO Amy Hauk added, "The Victoria's Secret consumer is at the heart of all we do and we will continue to use our platform to celebrate individuality and diversity given the brand’s vision to be the world’s leading advocate for women. The cast featured in this campaign represents the multifaceted, honest and ever-evolving beauty of womanhood – a journey that is only each individual’s to choose."

Text displayed throughout the campaign video also spoke to the new narrative that the brand is working to embrace reading, "Nothing can define us. Not your standards. Not your stereotypes. Not your fantasies, not anymore."

Since the brand announced that it would be getting rid of outdated angel imagery and body ideals in June 2021, the company and its partners have been speaking to these new standards. Even Hadid shared that it took her some time to agree to meet with Victoria's Secret to discuss being a part of their rebranding.

"[Joining the VS Collective] was really about taking my power back and having the power over my body be released to myself again. ...When we sit on set, we're just grateful for how we feel supported now, instead of how we used to feel, when it was a lingerie company that used to be run by men for men," Hadid told Marie Claire in Dec. 2021. "I just look around [on set] and I feel empowered again. I feel empowered in lingerie, instead of feeling like my body is some sort of money maker."

Efforts by the brand to become more inclusive were first recognized in Feb. 2021, when Elsesser modeled Victoria's Secret's spring swim collection.

"I’m really happy to see you incorporating some curvy girls in your campaigns," somebody commented on the brand's Instagram at the time. Another wrote, "I like this change."

Although there have been ongoing conversations and speculation surrounding the authenticity of the rebrand, Victoria's Secret is seemingly starting to take accountability for their perpetuation of unattainable body and beauty standards for many years.

"For decades, society and institutions — including ours — defined very narrow expressions that represented beauty, sexiness, and self-worth for women," the caption introducing the latest campaign reads. "The truth is the only person who can genuinely define a woman is herself."

It seems that the brand's spokespeople will be representing that authenticity that the brand hopes to encompass.

"I don't know about you, I feel like I've been like sucking in my stomach my entire life," Elsesser said as she looks toward the future of the brand and their partnership.

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