Victoria’s Secret announced this week that its controversial chief marketing officer is retiring, as news emerged that the lingerie company has hired an openly transgender model. In 2018, CMO Ed Razek said “transsexual” models should not be cast “because the show is a fantasy.” The 71-year-old also said that plus-size models do not fit with Victoria’s Secret brand—and the public has “no interest” in seeing them. Razek later apologized for his “insensitive” remarks. Last year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show attracted the lowest number of viewers in all of its history. The chain has been closing down stores, and its 2019 show has been cancelled. Business of Fashion reported that over 100 models have also signed a petition addressed to Chief Executive John Mehas, urging the company to create a legally binding commitment to protect their models from sexual misconduct.
Amid criticism that the company hasn’t changed with the times, Valentina Sampaio’s agent on Monday told The New York Times that she has been hired as the company’s first openly transgender model. The 22-year-old Brazilian will be working with the likes of Elsa Hosk and Lily Aldrige. “Never stop dreaming,” the model wrote on Instagram about her hiring.