Waking up at 5:00 a.m. on a Sunday morning at the tail end of a holiday weekend kind of sounds like a nightmare, right? Well, not if you're headed to board a private transatlantic flight that's transporting 30 Victoria's Secret models to the brand's annual fashion show, which is happening in London for the first time this year.
When Victoria's Secret invited Fashionista to travel across the pond with the Angels, we knew we were in for a once in a lifetime in-flight experience that we couldn't pass up — especially this model-obsessed editor. If I sound like I'm fangirling a bit here, that's because I totally am. Setting out on an adventure with Candice, Behati, Karlie et al. as my travel companions is basically a dream scenario. So with my passport and pink boarding pass in tow, off to Angel Airways I went.
I arrived at the airport before sunrise, but even in my bleary-eyed state I was blown away by the models' beauty as they arrived one by one around 7:00 a.m. Dressed in their signature off-duty uniforms — black skinny jeans, leather jackets or statement shearling coats, high-heeled ankle booties — most of the girls looked like they'd come straight from hair and makeup, although they wouldn't be shuffled in and out of touch-ups until right before boarding. I can assure you that, yes, they woke up like this.
The veteran Angels were the last to arrive, and once all of the models gathered on the tarmac for a "bon voyage" photo op, we were able to board. The chartered flight was about as on-brand as it could be: Each seat was covered in a cozy fleece blanket with white and bubble gum pink stripes, as well a Victoria's Secret duffle bag with branded in-flight essentials like an eye mask and a neck pillow. As passengers settled in, fresh mimosas were passed and tables with fresh flowers, fruit and pastries lined the aisles.
Even for the Angels, this was an extraordinary travel circumstance. "It's really strange when the flight attendants start speaking — I'm like, 'Where are we?' I feel like we're in a studio; to be on a plane with all of the girls at once feels very surreal," Doutzen Kroes told me as we chatted near her seat. "I am sitting next to Elsa [Hosk] which is nice — we were watching the same movie and didn't even know it!" She added that the energy before the show this year is a bit more exciting with the Angels all heading to London as a group, saying, "It's like taking a trip with all of your friends."
Truth be told, we didn't get to interact with the models much during the flight — they were sectioned off to the first class area of the plane, which was tirelessly guarded by the Victoria's Secret security detail: burly men dressed in suits with bright pink ties. Not to say that the flight was any less enjoyable because of that — in fact, at one point when I didn't think the situation could get any better (my seat was fully reclinable!) I thought of the only thing that I was lacking: candy. Lo and behold, the flight attendant quickly returned with a tray full of chocolate, gummy bears and the promise that if I didn't see something that I wanted, she had more stashed away in the back. Yes folks, Angel Airways is most certainly my idea of heaven.
Before we knew it, we were landing in Stansted — Adriana Lima's voice came over the loudspeaker in lieu of a flight attendant to announce our arrival — and the countdown to the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show was on. Although we didn't get to sit with the models in transit, a peek into their section as we exited the plane gave us an idea of how their trip might have been: the fuzzy blankets were strewn all over the floor, along with snacks like nuts and chocolate and remnants of travel-sized beauty products. This could have been the scene of some sorority girl pillow fight and slumber party, which is basically how we'd fantasized it.
However, reality quickly set in once we deplaned, where we proceeded to wait in the customs line for over an hour — yes, even the models. While it was a minor inconvenience for most, some of the girls, like VS Fashion Show first-timer Taylor Hill, were scheduled for late-night facials, spray tans and workouts (yes, seriously) that would go on until the wee hours of the morning. Despite the slight hiccup, it was a trip that I won't soon forget. Ah, it's good to be an Angel — even if it's just for a jaunt across the Atlantic.
Disclosure: Victoria's Secret paid for my travel and accommodation in London to cover its annual fashion show.