Acceptance is the key to a healthy and normalized society when people are receptive of the choices other people make only then we can dispel hate and sow a seed for tolerance and harmony. It seems Victoria’s Secret is taking a step towards tolerance and inclusivity by hiring the first-ever transgender model to pose for the company.
Valentina Sampaio, a Brazilian model, shared a photo on her Instagram to celebrate the shoot for her first Victoria’s Secret modeling job. She is one of the models in the upcoming Victoria’s Secret Pink Campaign, and as of now the only thing confirming the news is her Instagram page. L Brand, which owns the fashion imprint, didn’t make any public announcement relating to the hiring of the model.
The whole brand was under fire for the comments made by Ed Razek relating to transgender and plus-size women, which resulted in the resignation of the chief marketing officer for the L Brands. The company was also mired in controversy after the information became public the CEO of L Brands, Les Wexner, was involved with the pedophile Jeffrey Epstein. But this news of the hiring of a transgender person sure made some positive publicity come their way finally.
From her time in Brazil to her hiring and fan reaction to the news of her hiring, here is everything you need to know about Valentina Sampaio.
Valentina Sampaio’s Early Life
Valentina was an only child born to a fisherman father and a schoolteacher mother in the fishing village of Aquiraz, Ceara in northern Brazil. She said she always felt like a girl and at the age of eight, a psychologist identified her as a transgender person, but she only started to identify herself as Valentina at the age of 12.
Growing up in a small fishing village as a boy who was a girl inside must’ve been hard for the future supermodel, but she said her parents were always supportive and very proud of her gender. Valentina also said her friends at school were also supportive of her, “they already saw me as a little girl,” she said.
After finishing school, she joined Fortaleza to study architecture but dropped out at the age of 16 to study fashion. During her time at the fashion college, Valentina was discovered by a photographer who offered her a spot in with a modeling agency based out of Sao Paulo.
Valentia’s Sampaio’s Career
After signing with the modeling agency, she started working for various clothing companies, and Valentina said she was fired by a clothing company in 2014 saying the company was a conservative brand and their customers would not appreciate a transgender model appearing in the clothes they are going to buy. Valentina didn’t reveal the name of the company, but it was one of the very first hurdles she needed to jump over after embarking on her career.
Despite being fired from the ad campaign, she still managed to find a job as an actress in a movie independently released in Brazil, and she also made her debut at the Sao Paulo fashion week. The model was on her way to international fame after L’Oreal made a short movie about her and premiered it during International Women’s Day. After which she made her debut with the company and later she was hired as one of the brand ambassadors for the company.
Then, in 2017, Valentina made history by being the first transgender model to appear on the cover of Vogue Paris. She followed it up with other Vogue appearance and also graced the cover of Elle Mexico and Brazil.
The model came from humble beginnings, but she persevered and graced the pages of Vanity Fair and Marie Claire.
Victoria’s Secret Hiring
Victoria’s Secret isn’t exactly known for their inclusivity and tolerance, but it seems a little light bulb shone inside the head of the heads of L Brand and they made the wise and face-saving decision to hire the first transgender model to work for the company. The controversy pertaining to the comments made by Razek which stemmed from the statement he made about not allowing transgender women or plus-size models to appear in the show brought a lot of negative publicity to a company who was already being criticized for their lack of inclusivity. Then the low viewership at the fashion shop happened, and Razek resigned.
For a company which was smeared in controversy with lack of diversity and inclusivity, this was a wise decision for Victoria’s Secret to hire a transgender model. Victoria’s Secret is a dinosaur in the industry of fashion, but at least they understand the need for diversity and inclusivity. Valentina is a talented model and seeing her working for the company is a breath of fresh air, something which should’ve happened a long time ago but like the saying goes, “Better late than never.”
Social Media Reaction
We really don’t know how the Valentia campaign at the company is going to turn out, but she did post some behind the scene photo on Instagram. However, it turns out we are all ready to see Valentia get the respect and love she deserves. Social media seems to agree because people were flooding Twitter with love and respect for the model.
The model is on her way to great things, and we can see she is talented, carrying the mantle of equality and tolerance Valentina is paving the path for people just like her, which is why representation is paramount to understanding. Welcome to the party Victoria’s Secret!