Victoria’s Secret hires first transgender model, executive director steps down

Image via Valentina’s Instagram @valentts

Words by Anthony Graetz

Out with the old and in with the new.

After facing backlash due to his outdated comments on transgender models, Ed Razek has stepped down as director of Victoria’s Secret. 

Earlier this year, when asked if Victoria’s Secret should include transgender models in the show, Razek replied, “No, I don’t think we should. The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”

Sorry, what?

Due to these comments, both he and the show were in hot water. Last year’s runway received its worst ratings on record, and the company closed 36 stores this year alone. 

Well, it’s been announced this week that 71-year-old Razek has stepped down as director, after a 36-year reign. Almost immediately after his departure, Victoria’s Secret have hired their first transgender model. 

Brazilian model, Valentina Sampaio, will do a catalogue photoshoot for the company later this year.

Sharing a video to Instagram captioned “never stop dreaming”, Sampaio to expressed her joy at the casting.

Questions still remain around the lingerie show’s currency in an industry that is making a big push towards body positivity and inclusion. Racial and gender diversity doesn’t mean it avoids objectifying womxn and promoting unrealistic beauty standards. There’s still a long way for a brand like Victoria’s Secret to go in representing other minorities.

But at least the label is using its platform and high profile branding to put diversity in the spotlight and spread a positive message. Baby steps.

In the case of Razek, turns out you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.

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