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Victoria’s Secret hires first transgender model

Valentina Sampaio

Victoria’s Secret has hired its first openly transgender model, a capitulation from its chief marketing officer’s previous stance and nearly a year after a top company official was pressured to apologise for implying trans women are off brand.

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Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio posted a photo of herself on Instagram, tagging Victoria’s Secret. The brand hired her for a campaign for its Pink line, which will be released later this month, CNN reported.

The hiring comes at a time when Victoria’s Secret has been publicly dealing with an image problem. For years, it has faced criticism for not embracing more diversified beauty standards.

This came to a head in November when marketing officer Ed Razek, 71, told Vogue magazine that he decided not to use transgender models in Victoria’s Secret annual fashion shows.

“Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy,” he said at the time.

Razek apologised after outrage ensued outrage among celebrities and customers, who called for his resignation.

His remarks had come as viewership of the elaborate runway last year was the smallest – at 3.3 million – since it began appearing on television in 1995.

In May, parent company L Brands Chief Executive Officer Leslie Wexner pulled this year’s event from network television, saying it was no longer the right fit.

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While Sampaio was not brought on for the fashion show, according to CNN, her hiring is a departure from the typical model type that the brand uses in its advertising.

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