Victoria's Secret has cast its first transgender model. Brazilian mega-babe Valentina Sampaio shared the news on her Instagram page, but the timing of the announcement is raising eyebrows.
In late 2018, L Brands Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek told Vogue, "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." Controversy ensued, and many boycotted Victoria's Secret (Razek later issued a flimsy apology).
Is this casting a genuine attempt to inject much-needed diversity into the brand's model lineup? Or it a tokenizing attempt guiding the brand's ship toward more profitable waters? Let's undo this problematic bra strap together.
Razek's comments get worse the more times you read them.
"...[Victoria's Secret] has a specific image, has a point of view...I don’t think we can be all things to all customers...It’s like, why doesn’t your show do this? 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. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special...I’m always asking myself: If we do that, what is the reason we did it? Why did we include that person? And did we include them to shut up a reporter? Did we include them because it was the right thing to do or because it was the politically correct thing to do?"These are all things that Razek really said in that Vogue interview.