Victoria’s Secret Casts First Openly Transgender Woman as a Model

Victoria’s Secret has cast an openly transgender woman for the first time, hiring the Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio for a catalog photo shoot, her agent said.

Her agent, Erio Zanon, said on Monday that Ms. Sampaio, 22, had been hired for catalog work for VS Pink, the company’s athletic line.

He said Ms. Sampaio “believes that this is a great opportunity to break barriers” in the fashion business “and to contribute to a bigger representation for everybody.”

“Never stop dreaming,” Ms. Sampaio wrote on Instagram.

For a brand that has struggled with criticism that it is anachronistic and out of touch, Ms. Sampaio’s selection was seen by some as a step whose time was past due.

A representative for Victoria’s Secret did not respond to requests for comment on Monday.

In November, Mr. Razek was quoted as saying he did not think the company needed to cast models who are “transsexuals” in Victoria’s Secret shows. He later apologized, saying on the company’s Twitter account that his remark “came across as insensitive.”

“To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he said. “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.”

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