Victoria’s Secret Supermodels Fired, Replaced With LGBTQs

CEO Martin Waters told the New York Times that he doesn't see the Victoria's Secret Angels "as being culturally relevant" anymore.

CNN – Less than two years after Victoria’s Secret pulled the plug on its star-studded annual fashion show, known for runway looks that combined strappy lingerie with enormous wings, the brand is retiring its supermodel “Angels” for good.

Taking their place is a new group of seven ambassadors, called the “VS Collective,” who are known for their advocacy work in gender equality and body positivity, and who represent a wider range of body types and sexual and gender identities.

The collective — which includes soccer player Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser — will work on new product lines and multimedia content, as well as supporting women’s causes for the company, according to a press release. [Also included is ‘transgender’ model Valentina Sampaio.]

Candice Swanepoel (shown above on the left; age 31, measurements 34-26-34) is among the former Victoria’s Secret supermodels deemed ‘no longer culturally relevant.’ Among the replacements for the former Angel are plus-size model Paloma Elsesser, (29, 44-37-46).

“This is a dramatic shift for our brand, and it’s a shift that we embrace from our core,” said Victoria’s Secret CEO Martin Waters in a statement.

Waters was promoted in February, as Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, attempted to sell it off to a private equity firm in a $525 million deal that ultimately fell through. (Victoria’s Secret now has plans to become its own publicly traded company.)

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On Wednesday, Waters told the New York Times that he doesn’t see the Angels “as being culturally relevant” anymore.

The about-face comes after years of criticism that Victoria’s Secret was promoting dated ideas of femininity and that its collections were made for a narrow range of body types.

According to Women’s Wear Daily, the brand had a 19% market share in the US women’s intimate apparel space as of December 2020, down from 32% in 2015.

Last year, L Brands announced that it was shutting a quarter of Victoria’s Secret stores, and more followed earlier this year.

Chantal Fernandez, a senior correspondent at trade publication The Business of Fashion, said via email:

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“Especially over the last five years, public criticism of Victoria’s Secret’s narrow and exclusive beauty ideals has been building and its sales started to decline … “

Candice Swanepoel (age 31, measurements 34-26-34) is among the former Victoria’s Secret supermodels deemed ‘no longer culturally relevant.’ Among the replacements for the former Angel are plus-size model Paloma Elsesser, (29, 44-37-46).

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