In terms of modeling jobs, there's perhaps no gig more coveted — nor harder to nab — than that of a Victoria's Secret Angel. But within that small group is an even greater honor: The Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra, the highlight of each year's fashion show which grants one Angel a larger share of the spotlight. It's usually worn by a veteran, which is why it was a surprise when the brand announced that the 2016 Eddie Borgo-designed bra would be worn by rookie Jasmine Tookes. No one was more shocked than Tookes herself, though.
"I never thought I would have this opportunity to wear a $3 million bra, so this is still mind blowing to me," she said standing next to the mega-watt sparkler in the brand's new Fifth Avenue flagship store Wednesday. "I just wanted to be on the runway and be an Angel, so now that I get to do this — it's insane."
Tookes only just donned her first pair of wings, another Angel milestone, at the 2015 show. But this is a moment that's even bigger than just her own career. When she wears the Bright Night Fantasy Bra down the runway, she'll become the third ever black woman to do so in Victoria's Secret history, following Selita Ebanks's 2007 turn down the runway. (The other was, of course, Tyra Banks, whom Tookes says she looked up to growing up.) The significance isn't lost on Tookes.
"I feel like it's such a milestone for Victoria's Secret to have a woman of color wearing the fantasy bra, because there's only been two in the past, and the last one was almost 10 years ago," she says. "It's major, and I think it's awesome I get to represent that."
Of course, with the spotlight comes plenty of hard work. Much ink has been spilled over how the models prep for the shows, from diet to hardcore workouts, but thankfully being fit and healthy is one of Tookes's favorite parts of the job. She's enjoyed having a platform to encourage her followers to engage in some sweat sessions of their own. "I love being able to share with people how to be healthy and take care of their bodies," she says. "A lot of my fans will say, 'Thank you so much, I got into working out because of you,' and I love that because I love being able to motivate people."
The best part of the job, though, is the close knit group of friends she's made as an Angel. When the Victoria's Secret Fifth Avenue flagship opens in New York this Friday, the top floor will feature an exhibition of last year's costumes, and in the middle of the room is a list of every model to walk a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. It's a surprisingly small list; the list of Angels is even smaller. One might expect there to be competitiveness and cattiness, but in the video where Tookes finds out she'll be wearing the Fantasy Bra, fellow Angels Josephine Skriver, Taylor Hill and Romee Strijd look even more excited than she does. It's been said before that the Victoria's Secret girls think of the brand as family, and Tookes is no different.
"All the girls are so sweet, and very supportive," she says, "I feel like it's rare in this industry that you can find loyal and humble people, so it's nice that we were all together."