Brazilian woman Valentina Sampaio, 22, has made the fashion world more diverse and inclusive by becoming Victoria’s Secret first-ever transgender model. A feat which will now pave the way for up-and-coming trans models around the world.
In its 42 year history Victoria’s Secret has never hired a transgender model to walk in any of its fashion shows, however this month the designer company made the decision to hire 22 year-old Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio.
The decision comes after a November 2018 Vogue interview in which the brands Chief Marketing Officer, Edward Razek came under fire for comments made regarding the hiring of transgender models. Razek remarked: “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. That’s what it is.”
Mr Razek’s comments were deemed insensitive and received immediate backlash from many within the modelling industry. Transgender model and RuPaul’s Drag Race season 3 contestant Carmen Carrera, former Victoria’s Secret Angels Lily Aldridge and Karlie Kloss and model Kendall Jenner all voiced their support for the inclusion of transgender models in the brand’s fashion shows.
At the age of only 22, Valentina Sampaio has graced the covers of fashion magazines Vogue Paris and Vogue Brasil, becoming the first openly transgender woman to do so. She was also featured in German Vogue and is also a spokeswoman for L’Oréal.
Another feat for transgender women was made last December at the Miss Universe contest in Bangkok, Thailand when Ángela Ponce of Spain became the first transgender woman to compete for the Miss Universe title. Both women’s achievements show the world that trans women are and always will be visible and valued. Our Rainbow Society truly knows no limits.
If you are a young person struggling to fully embrace your gender identity or sexual orientation, always know that you are never alone. If you need to talk to someone who understands you, you can call the following LGBT+ organisations confidentially for advice and information:
LGBT Ireland Helpline: 1890 929 539
BeLonG To Youth Services: 01 670 6223
TENI Transgender Equality Network Ireland: 01 873 3575
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