Valentina Sampaio, who openly identifies as a transgender woman, posted a behind-the-scenes photo on Instagram while shooting with VS Pink on Friday, making her the first transgender model to work with Victoria's Secret. The Brazilian model received support on social media from Lais Robeiro via Twitter and Laverne Cox, who commented, "Wow, finally!" on Sampaio's Instagram. In 2017, she was also the first transgender model to cover Vogue Paris.
Sampaio's new gig follows an onslaught of backlash from Ed Razek's comments regarding the transgender community during a disaster of an interview with Vogue.com in November to promote the 2018 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show: "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," he told Nicole Phelps. Victoria's Secret later released an apology on Twitter.
Though Victoria's Secret has expanded its roster of models with the addition of newly hired Angels Barbara Palvin, Grace Elizabeth, Leomie Anderson and Alexina Graham, these choices were considered safe and predictable. And while Sampaio is working for the company's sub-brand VS Pink, we have yet to receive word on whether she'll be getting her wings anytime soon for an allegedly "canceled" fashion show. (It is confirmed, however, that it will no longer air on network television.)
Of course, we appreciate and recognize the strides made by Victoria's Secret with the hire of Sampaio in an effort towards more diversity, inclusivity and representation, but with record-low ratings, store closures and parent company L-Brands founder's deep ties with Jeffrey Epstein — the New York "financier" arrested on charges of sex trafficking girls as young as 14 — it seems like Victoria's Secret has already dug itself far too deep into a hole to make amends.
We reached out to representatives for VS Pink and Victoria's Secret for comment.
Homepage image: Valentina Sampaio walks the Le Defile L'Oreal Paris during Paris Fashion Week in October 2017. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images