Valentina Sampaio has been hired to appear in a Victoria’s Secret ad campaign, making her the first transgender model to work for the brand, according to E!.
It’s no secret that Victoria’s Secret has been struggling in recent years. Model Shanina Shaik recently told the Daily Telegraph that the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will not be happening this year.
“Unfortunately, the Victoria’s Secret Show won’t be happening this year … It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an Angel … They’re trying to work on branding and new ways to do the show … It’s the best show in the world,” Shaik told the outlet.
Sampaio, a 22-year-old Brazilian actress and model, is likely part of the company’s efforts to rebrand. Victoria’s Secret has been criticized for its lack of inclusivity in the past. In any case, she is excited for the opportunity.
“She is super happy and proud to represent all her community,” Sampaio’s manager Erio Zanon told the outlet. “She hopes this opportunity shall be another step to break barriers.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Valentina Was Born in Brazil
According to The New York Times, Sampaio grew up in the small fishing village Aquiraz in northern Brazil. Her father was a fisherman and her mother was a school teacher.
The model refused to tell the outlet what her name was before she transitioned and chose to be called Valentina. However, Sampaio said that she always felt like a girl. Her parents and classmates were all very supporting, accepting, and proud, mostly because they already saw her as a little girl.
Sampaio grew into a beautiful young woman with long legs, lush brunette locks, and sharp facial features. The New York Times reported that French Vogue editor Emmanuelle Alt described Sampaio as having striking beauty and a sparkling personality.
When Sampaio appeared on the cover of the March 2017 issue of French Vogue, Alt reportedly wrote in her editor’s letter that transgender people are “the ultimate of a rejection of conformity” and the sort of “icons that Vogue supports and chooses to celebrate.”
2. Valentina Was Discovered By a Makeup Artist
According to the New York Times, Sampaio was studying fashion when she was discovered by a makeup artist. Sampaio later signed with a modeling agency in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
The model went on to appear on the covers of French Vogue, Vogue Brasil, Elle Mexico, Elle Brasil, Vanity Fair Italia, and L’Officiel Turkiye, among others. Sampaio has also worked with major brands like Philipp Plein, Pollini, Moschino, and L’Oreal, among others.
Sampaio’s career as a model has been well-documented on her social media. The bombshell has caught the eye of more than 229,000 people on Instagram and another 17,000 on Facebook.
3. Valentina is an Ambassador for L’Oreal Paris
According to her Facebook page, Sampaio is an ambassador for L’Oreal Paris. The brand created a short film about the model for International Women’s Day on March 8, 2016.
“L’Oréal Paris believes that being a woman transcends the body, which is why the brand is broadcasting a message about the fight for feminine freedom in all its expressions by presenting the story of Valentina Sampaio of Brazil,” the brand wrote. “The brand helps Valentina, a transgender woman, to prepare herself to take a photo for her new ID, that will officially reflect her feminine identity.”
The 56-second clip shows Sampaio getting ready on her first official Women’s Day. She appears to be getting ready for the day, applying makeup and blowdrying her hair in front of a mirror.
“It’s great when you accept and love yourself, when you know your worth,” Sampaio said in the video. “I think Women’s Day is important, but not for being given flowers. We want respect.”
4. Valentina Became the First Transgender Woman to Model for Victoria’s Secret
According to E!, Sampaio has been hired to appear in a Victoria’s Secret ad campaign, making her the first transgender model to work for the brand. Sampaio shared some behind the scenes snaps from her shoot.
“Backstage click,” the model wrote. She tagged Victoria’s Secret PINK and used hashtags that said “vspink,” “campaign,” “diversity,” and “beauty.”
In another post, the model said, “Never stop dreaming.”
According to The New York Times, Sampaio’s career has had its ups and downs. The model has reportedly had a few “incidents” in which brands refused to hire her because she was transgender. Sampaio told the outlet that she debated giving up her budding career as a model because of those experiences.
5. Fans Are Reacting to the News
Victoria’s Secret Angel Lais Ribeiro said the news made her “so happy.”
Tina seemed excited that a trans model was shooting for Victoria’s Secret, however, she believes that the brand cast Sampaio in an ad campaign for money and not inclusivity.
Alena said she is in love with Valentina Sampaio.
“As a trans woman who grew up silently, desperately wishing she could be like the models in the VS catalog, I can’t tell you what this means to me,” Vanillannie wrote. “It doesn’t absolve the label of its problems, but I’m so happy for Valentina and every woman she inspires!”