One of the most exciting aspects of the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show (at least for me) is finding out which ladies made the lineup. The lingerie giant's runway spectacular is easily the most competitive casting situation in the industry, so being selected to walk — or, if you're really special, to wear a pair of Angel wings — is one of the biggest honors that can be bestowed upon a model.
Of the 47 women who made the cut for this year's show, 13 are first-timers — up from just 10 newbies last year. While a couple of them are just as famous as Victoria's Secret's contracted Angels (we're looking at you, Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner), many of them are still relatively under the radar. But that can all change very quickly: Out of the 10 rookies in the 2014 show, four were promoted to Angel status — and, therefore, objective modeling superstardom — this past spring.
This year's group of first-timers is a diverse one, although, unsurprisingly, all of the models have one thing in common, and that's a highly engaged social media following. Before the taping of the event on Tuesday night, we headed backstage to meet the newbies before they took the Victoria's Secret stage for the first time. Get to know the 2015 rookies below.
Hails from: Perth, Australia.
How she got cast: "This was my third time trying out... third time's a charm! I felt less nervous this time and more prepared than ever before. When I got the call that I made it, I was in a van with my fiancé [Nathaniel Hoho] who's on tour and we were driving between Utah and Colorado. My agent called and it was really bad service, but when she finally got through I was in disbelief. I was so happy I was shaking."
Fun fact: "I'm a classically trained musician — I play the oboe. You might be able to see that on my Instagram..."
Hails from: Victoria, Brazil.
How she got cast: "My agency called me up to tell me I had a casting for the show and I didn't believe it! I cried and cried when I heard I got a callback. It was my first time [trying out for Victoria's Secret], but I started modeling about five years ago."
Fun fact: "I dance a little bit... Samba is Brazilian, so it's my favorite."
Hails from: Brazil.
How she got cast: "The casting for me starts 20 days ahead — the working out, I start eating really well, taking care of my skin, body and soul... I meditate. When I had the callback I was super nervous, I was shaking like crazy — but Ed [Razek] was really nice, he told me he followed me on Instagram, which helped me to relax. When I got the call that I made it, I was working — I started to laugh and cry and scream, so many emotions together. I can't really explain the feeling because it's something I'd never had before."
Fun fact: "I love art. I paint, I draw, I take photos... I'm really into it."
Hails from: Malibu, California.
Claim to fame/previous work: You're likely quite familiar with Hadid — whose audition tape for this year's show quickly went viral — thanks to her ubiquity during Fashion Month, her dozens of social media-angled magazine covers, a handful of big-name ad campaigns and, of course, her frequent appearances on "The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills." Also, we hope she's laughing very, very hard at all of her online body-shamers right about now.
Hails from: Los Angeles, California.
Claim to fame/previous work: If you're reading this, you're probably on the wrong website.
Hails from: Burundi, Southeast Africa.
How she got cast: "I never imagined I would be here! Right after Fashion Week, my agency called me and asked me to start getting ready — that I'd really have to prep since it's a really selective casting. You really have to impress, so it's both stressful and exciting. I got the call a week ago [to come in for two days of casting], and since I live in Belgium I had to have my visa... it's been kind of crazy."
Fun fact: "I am currently a law student, studying in Belgium — I've almost made it to graduation."
Hails from: London, England.
How she got cast: "I think it's every model's dream to walk in the show — it's one of the first fashion shows I ever watched when I first started out. The casting is very nerve-wracking, but this was my third time doing it, so I thought, 'I have to give it my all, be confident and show them my personality.' I put my weave in [this time] to look extra 'VS,' made some jokes and made 'em laugh. I think that's the way into their hearts."
Fun fact: "When I was getting ready for the show, I was in my underwear practicing in my heels and I tried to perfect my twerk at the same time."
Hails from: Columbus, Ohio.
Claim to fame/previous work: This Midwestern beauty is very new on the scene, but considering that she's signed with IMG Models (and walking for Victoria's Secret, obviously), her future looks bright. Thus far, she's worked with labels like Delpozo, J.Crew and Rachel Zoe during fashion week, so we'll be keeping an eye out for her in coming seasons.
Hails from: Reunion Island (a French territory).
How she got cast: "I tried out last year, too, but this year I found out I had a casting the week before. I went in with a positive mindset and wasn't that stressed; I thought, 'I'm just going to try it out and see what happens.' My agency called me the afternoon of my second casting saying I needed to come in and take a picture for a client. When I got there, they asked me how it went, and after I explained, my agent told me I'd booked it. Everyone in the room started screaming! At first I thought it was a joke. They filmed me, so my reaction is on Instagram."
Fun fact: "I love dancing and I trained in modern jazz for a really long time. I went twice a week in school for 11 years... I kind of miss it and want to go back!"
Hails from: Rochester, New York.
Claim to fame/previous work: The 20-year-old has made a name for herself as the first official brand ambassador for Victoria's Secret's little sister line, Pink, but Hilbert has also been the face of huge commercial labels like Kenneth Cole, Macy's, Urban Outfitters, Delia's and Express.
Hails from: Donkerbroek, Netherlands.
Claim to fame/previous work: Vloet has already achieved major success on the high fashion runway circuit, walking for labels like Balmain, Isabel Marant, Dolce & Gabbana, Moschino, Chloé and Chanel since she made her debut during the fall/winter 2015 season.
Hails from: Moscow, Russia.
How she got cast: "I always dreamed of being one of the Victoria's Secret participants — all the girls are so beautiful, of course you want to be a part of something like that! It was definitely a priority [in my career]. Before the castings you have to do a spray tan, hair [extensions], go the gym all the time, get your beauty sleep... all of that. My agent called to tell me I didn't get it [at first], but she was joking! I started to cry — I was on a plane getting ready to take off, everyone was looking at me, like, 'What's this girl's problem?'"
Fun fact: "I take fencing classes. It's very interesting — it feels very aristocratic and cultured to me! I've been doing it for about a year."
Hails from: Khabarovsk, Russia.
How she got cast: "It was my second time trying out this year, and I was a little bit more confident and I knew what to expect. I am very happy it happened that way — sometimes you look back and think, 'I would change this or that.' But this year when I went into the casting I felt like I did everything I could and I felt satisfied. My agents took an amazing video of my reaction — they made up a story so I would come into the agency and they could film me. I was shocked."
Fun fact: "When I was a kid, my parents thought I was going to be a tennis player. They are very into sports, so they were pushing me more into that than the modeling, for sure. I still enjoy playing for fun, though."