First Transgender Woman Cast in Victoria Secret Catalog

First Transgender Woman Cast in Victoria Secret Catalog

Victoria's Secret has cast Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, an openly transgender woman, for a catalog photo shoot. This announcement marks the first time Victoria's Secret has cast a transgender person for a catalog or brand campaign. Does this mean the lack of diversity and inclusion in the advertising industry is finally changing? 

In the past, Victoria's Secret CMO, Ed Razek, has caught flack for expressing a lack of interest in casting transgender and plus-size models. The company recently announced that Mr. Razek was leaving the company, in part because of his problematic comments. Recently, the brand has received criticism for being old fashioned and out of touch. The Victoria's Secret has lost a significant market share to brands like Fashion Nova and Savage X Fenty. Recently, Karlie Kloss left Victoria's Secret because "The kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful." The change in leadership and casting practices has been seen by many as overdue. 

In 2017, Playboy cast the first-ever transgender cover model. On top of that, the brand's GAP and H&M have both created campaigns featuring LGBTQ models. So this move by Victoria's Secret could be seen as a catalyst for casting trends in the apparel advertising industry. 

Lead photo by WestportWiki used under Creative Commons. 

Martin Van Londen's picture

I am a vintage millennial content creator with experience in and passion for cinematography and photography. I live in Portland, Oregon, where I work in the marketing industry. When I'm not behind a camera or deep diving into the creative cloud, I am reading, enjoying art, and nature.

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What this have to do with photography?

Playboy already posted some transgender model pic by photographer Brian Duffy.... but its different story

Back to Victoria's Secret dump move very dump move now they targeting what 1% of market then rest of man will recommend they wife's/girlfriends to buy other brands ...

for majority of man transgender women is massive turn-off ....

It has everything to do with photography.

Most of the images created by GWC's are of very YOUNG girls who are thin, etc etc etc.

Good idea to include the other 90% of the population that might not conform to the "usual".

It is about photography because it has to do with a photoshoot. If it was about a runway model it would not be an article.

Victoria's Secret Pink is actually apparel and not lingerie... So my guess is most women are buying it from themselves and not for a man.

"for majority of man transgender women is massive turn-off"

no one cares

Well i dont realy see how this related to photography.... then i opend fstoppers i expect to see articles about camers etc.. then i open news paper i expect to see all type of articles in diferent topics.... once again this is not news it was month ago .... and we discusing about women with cocks.... not cameras ..... or pictures same problem with Victoria's secret they had this problem for years brand without identity one of the reasons in failed in europe and now on the edge of bankruptcy.... but yeah good for LGBTQ ppl not for brand again men will look somewear else and this brand wasn't designed for women in first place ....

It seems you care...

It seems you care....


And sorry for the double post, wasn't by purpose...

"What this have to do with photography? ... for majority of man transgender women is massive turn-off ...."

There is a lot more to photography than the limited category of what men find arousing. Also, there are some interesting statistics that seem to be contrary to your claim.

About d*mn time....

Yup, yet another sellout to add to the growing list. People in the targeted demographic see this as a sign of equality, but everyone else sees it as the cash grab it really is. Nobody ever stopped LGBTQ people from shopping at Victoria's Secret or wearing their products.

"Nobody ever stopped LGBTQ people from shopping at Victoria's Secret or wearing their products."

Then what's wrong with the brand having a trans person in the catalog?

"cash grab" They are not authentic about what they are saying they are doing and for what reasons they are doing it. they are a corporation and will do what ever is necessary to make money. The same goes with all forms of media and consumables. Gillette is a prime example. They made those commercials demonizing men because it was popular at the time and it blew up in their faces. They demonized their customer base. Now they are pulling a full 180 on that campaign. They lost $8 BILLION dollars. With a capital "B". It's always about money when it comes to business.

VS has some credibility for this move. Trans people do buy there product. And let’s be honest woman don’t care about this the way men do. On the other hand Gillette belittled the majority of their customer base.

Literally every thing a company does is a cash grab unless they are donating money to some sort of cause but even then, they typically do so because it promotes the firm's "goodwill". As Martin just mentioned above my comment, Trans people shop there so why is it crazy that VS take the opportunity to include someone in that demo in their marketing materials?

Comparing this to Gillette is a reach because VS is being inclusive. Anyone triggered into boycotting is doing so out of prejudice. It's kinda silly that Gillette got people mad but that's a completely different topic and not relevant here.

You have the wrong Sampaio in the article image.

Thank you, and Sorry. I am fixing that.

I think FSTOPPERS is doing what they believe are right to bring clicks, but I think it is way too much LGBT propaganda for me.

This is newsworthy not propaganda. I did not give any opinions just facts and questions.

Au contraire. It is completely narrative driven. As far as newsworthy, that certainly is an opinion.

When you use the words "...lack of diversity and inclusion..." in a declarative statement; it is propaganda.

My partner is trans and both of us are not in the remotest bit impressed by this. Victoria's Secret works by selling raw sex appeal which this trans model is very much lacking. There are millions of hot trans women, why pick such a *meh* specimen? (Also, as somebody else said - the photo on Fstoppers is not the model in question, go look at the NYT article you link to for clarification).

Believe or not, I do not even understand what you are describing. But I am completely sure you feel more and more at home here in this world which makes me realize my home is somewhere else. I do not feel at home here.

Specimen? WTF

Let me direct your shrill self to the dictionary.

The meaning of specimen is "person".

So I looked at the model in questions IG and TBH I can't tell the difference between her and any other of the models VS typically uses. Thin and exotic looking. It kind of begs the question WTF the point is. Do trans women not identify with CIS women? Only other trans? What if some trans person see an ad with the new Trans model but doesn't know the model is trans?

I realize a lot of it is just about the message it sends and providing opportunities and all but still a tad perplexing. Good luck VS. I am sure your transparent pandering will yield double digit sales growth!

You bring up a lot of good points. I think the bigger question is does VS move beyond typical beauty standards.

Anything for a headline I guess.

Typical beauty standards are VS' bread and butter, so I wouldn't expect much movement on that.

They got new CEOs, which appear to be of the Liberal flavor.

This is not a pipe and he is not a woman. The term 'transgender woman' is an oxymoron that is only intended to obscure what is real and what is not.

Yeah because whoever heard of an LGBTQ+ person being a photographer? /sarcasm

But in seriousness, might have something to do with the fact that there are LGBTQ+ people everywhere.

Even Anti-LGBT groups place figure of LGBTQ+ people at 7% of the population which is 1 in 14 people. So it stands to reason that if you start posting anti-lgbt commentary in a photography article, there is a good chance there are a number of photographers who are part of the LGBTQ+ reading the article, and even a good chance that there will be one that will point out the ignorance of the comment.

Didn't say you were, just pointing out the fact that statistically any random population is going to have someone who is part of the LGBTQ+ demographic, so likening it to a mob that has agents everywhere is pretty silly.

The odd thing to me is that Transgender women want to be recognised as 'real' women. To the point where they have issues with feminist groups who do not include them (trying to suppress discussing issues such as having periods and childbirth, things which are unique to 'real' women). Which begs the question, why then go and identify as a 'transgender' woman?

Knew this article would bring the bigots out in full force as soon as I read the title


Correct. People are allowed to make stupid, ignorant comments. And some people certainly exercise that right as much as they can.

Respectfully Matt, your statement would include you as well............being tolerant of others seem to be in short supply matter which side of the fence you're occupying.

Yeah, this idea that everything goes both ways and you have to be tolerant of intolerance is horseshit. People who are actively and outspokenly against the identity of other people, or seeing them displayed, or support taking away/withholding rights from them... those people do not deserve tolerance.

So don't come at me with this "no matter which side of the fence" garbage. If you're a hateful, intolerant bigot, I don't have to respect that.

Things which are not equal do not go both ways.

Yes........and, sadly, you are proving your own point............

“If you’re a hateful, intolerant bigot” how does one know if he’s one?

You are really lacking humility as you position yourself smarter than other people. Who told you your comments are smart?

Like the one you just made?

Yeah great. Happy for all concerned.
Vicky isn't that good at holding onto her secrets, is she.


ooooh err, more tea, vicar?

Seems like a cynical tactic to try and regain market share. Brands that never cared about trans rights are now crusaders for them? Please.

I think minority groups would be wise to be very careful about how quickly they jump into bed with these brands in the hope it is going to hep their cause because it is entirely possible that when you are no longer the cause of the moment that they can score points off of you will be left high and dry.

"Recently, Karlie Kloss left Victoria's Secret because "The kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful."

Oh really? How long did it take to come to that enlightened conclusion? After you made a dump truck full of money out of being beautiful? There is obviously something very ugly here.

Because everyone has very strong opinions on this issue, I wanted to ask a few follow up questions. If you were presented with the opportunity to shoot a high profile trans person for a publication, and you were going to be paid well, enabled to do really quality work, gain potential for future work, would you do it? If it makes you uncomfortable or goes against your personal beliefs, would you be able to set that aside for your career?

That is a great question.
Would I photograph a transgender person? Absolutely.
Would I photograph an overweight, older, white male? Absolutely.
Would I photograph Donald Trump? Not a chance.

Like everyone else, photographers are confronted with the tensions of moral decisions. Speaking for myself; career or personal gain would not be a factor in the decision.

I would not photograph.

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