Victoria’s Secret exec steps down after trans model hired

Frida Assen in a grey, feathered lingerie set

Victoria’s Secret exec Ed Razek, who once said that the brand would never cast a trans woman for its fashion show, has stepped down days after the brand recruited its first transgender model.

Razek’s retirement from the lingerie label’s parent company L Brands was announced on Monday (August 5), according to The New York Times.

Chief executive Leslie H. Wexner reportedly sent a note to employees, writing that “there are few with Ed’s passion and talent in this industry.”

Victoria’s Secret exec said he wouldn’t hire trans model

Razek, who served as chief marketing officer, made headlines in November 2018 after telling Vogue that he wouldn’t hire a trans model for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show because it “is a fantasy.”

“Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should,” he said.

Ed Razek with his arm around the waist of Candice Swanepoel.

Ed Razek with model Candice Swanepoel. (Getty)

He later apologised for the remark and corrected his poor wording, saying: “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show.

“We’ve had transgender models come to casting, 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.”

Victoria’s Secret sales fall

Razek’s comments came at a time of turbulence for the lingerie giant.

Sales have been falling for the past three years, with many analysts pointing blame at its hyper-sexualised imagery of thin, cis models – an aesthetic that Razek was instrumental in defining.

It was announced in May that its big-budget fashion shows would no longer be televised after viewing figures plummeted.

On Friday (August 2), model Shanina Shaik told Australia’s Daily Telegraph that the show had been cancelled entirely.

In an apparent attempt to diversify its image, the brand’s youth line VS Pink has reportedly cast trans model Valentina Sampaio.

After Sampaio posted a backstage photo to Instagram on Friday, her agent confirmed that she had been hired for a catalog shoot.

Victoria’s Secret is yet to comment on the news.