All good things must come to an end and so it remains true for Victoria’s Secret angels. The VS angels have been an iconic part of the lingerie brand for decades because they were designed to sell sexiness. Now the tall, skinny women who were supposed to epitome sex appeal have been swapped out for a group of women known for their achievements, not their body proportions.
Victoria’s Secret has criticized in recent years for its messaging. Many find Victoria’s Secret angels to be an unrealistic, unattainable standard of beauty due to how thin and conventionally beautiful they are. Unfortunately, not only did Victoria’s Secret refuse to expand their brand to be more inclusive, they claimed that doing so would be against the fantasy that they are trying to sell.
Now, the lingerie brand is taking its messaging in a completely different direction. Instead of the typical Victoria’s Secret angels, this is a group of 7 women, known for their accomplishments. These women have specifically been chosen because of their commitment to advocacy. They come from a variety of different backgrounds and ethnicities. Most importantly, they show an inclusive range of body types and skin tones.
35-year-old Megan Rapinoe is a star athlete and an outspoken activist. The winger and team caption for the US National Women’s Soccer Team Rapinoe is a highly decorated athlete. Off the field, she is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights. Her short pink hair and athletic build are a stark difference from the supermodels who preceded her as Victoria’s Secret angels.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas
Priyanka Chopra might be a former beauty pageant queen, but she isn’t your standard Victoria’s Secret angel. She has proven to be more than just a pretty face. After Chopra Jonas won Miss Universe in 2000 she quickly became one of the biggest entertainers in India. The actress has had multiple starring roles (bring back Quantico) and has been an outspoken activist. Chopra Jonas advocates for environmental causes and women’s rights. She has been appointed as the national and global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for child rights in 2010 and 2016.
Valentina Sampaio is a Brazilian model and actress. In 2019 she became the first openly transgender model for Victoria’s Secret. Since then she has only become more outspoken over LGBTQ+ rights. The inclusion of her is a step in the right direction for Victoria’s Secret because it shows inclusion beyond age and body type.
Body inclusion has been something Victoria’s Secret has struggled with as a company in the past. Eslesser is changing that. The British-Born Swiss plus-size model is breaking down barriers in the modeling community. As a plus-size woman, she is an advocate for body inclusivity. She isn’t like another Victoria’s Secret angel!
At only 17, Gu is one of the most accomplished teenagers in the world. She is a Chinese freestyle skier who has more than a couple of gold medals. She is an advocate for the importance of athletics and advocates specifically for girls in sports.
Amanda De Cadenet
The founder of Girlgaze, Cadenet is an accomplished journalist and photographer. Besides her successful career, she is also an advocate for equality. She is working hard to help women get the recognition and equality they deserve.
The beautiful Adut Akech rounds out the list and her story is extremely inspiring, Akech is a Sudanese refugee who became a model. At only 21-years-old she has gone through so much and now advocates for mental health.
Currently, Victoria’s Secret angels are changing their image. They have stepped away from their rigid and outdated views of sexiness and are instead promoting inclusivity. For example, the women they have chosen are of a wide range of sizes and shapes. Whether it’s the athletic build and pale complexion of Megan Rapinoe or the darker plus-size body of Paloma Elsesser, Victoria’s Secret has changed its image. They’re following a trend of body positivity and inclusion.