Valentina Sampaio: Victoria’s Secret hires first transgender model

Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio presents a creation from Spanish designer Miguel Marinero's Spring/Summer 2020 collection during the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in Madrid on July 10, 2019.

Victoria’s Secret has hired its first trans model, Valentina Sampaio.

The Brazilian-born model revealed on social media that she was shooting for the lingerie company’s VS Pink brand.

Taking to Instagram, she posted a behind-the-scenes photo of herself in a white bathrobe, tagging the brand and captioning it “#diversity #staytuned.”

Valentina Sampaio breaks another barrier for trans representation in modelling

She was welcomed by Victoria’s Secret model Lais Ribeiro, who tweeted: “First transgender [person] to shoot with VS! This make me so happy! ❤️”

Transgender actress Laverne Cox also welcomed the representation, writing: “Wow finally!”

Sampaio has made a splash in the modelling world, signing up as a L’Oreal brand ambassador in 2016, and becoming the first trans woman to grace the cover of Vogue Paris in 2017.

Victoria’s Secret is yet to officially confirm that it has hired the model, 22.

However, the decision would go some ways to repairing relations with the trans community.

Victoria’s Secret has had rocky relationship with trans people

Trans models Carmen Carrera and Leyna Bloom have previously led calls for the company to include trans people.

The company’s chief marketing officer sparked anger in 2018 after he said, in an interview with Vogue, that he would not hire a trans woman.

Asked if the brand should hire trans women, Ed Razek said: “No, I don’t think we should. Well, why not? Because the show is a fantasy.

“It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.

“It is the only one of its kind in the world, and any other fashion brand in the world would take it in a minute, including the competitors that are carping at us. And they carp at us because we’re the leader.”

Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio poses during an interview in Milan on February 18, 2017.

Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio poses during an interview in Milan on February 18, 2017. (MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP/Getty)

The 70-year-old executive also dismissed the idea that plus-size models deserve a place on the runway, saying: “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”

Following backlash to these remarks, the company posted an apology from Razek on its Twitter page, in which he insisted that the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show had auditioned trans models.

The post read: “My remark regarding the inclusion of transgender models in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion show came across as insensitive. I apologise.

“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show. We’ve had transgender models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never about gender.

“I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”