Victoria’s Secret is growing its army of Angels.
While some 70+ models walk the runway for the annual fashion show, a small number of supermodels are elevated to angel status, meaning they sign exclusively with the lingerie giant and are paid handsomely for it. It remains the most coveted title for aspiring models – established and newcomers – because the association often elevates women to levels of superstardom in the industry and paves the way for a lucrative, post-runway career.
In 2015, the brand famously introduced 10 Angels at once, including Stella Maxwell, Taylor Hill and Jasmine Tookes, who are now among the most devoted and recognisable names in its roster now, but this time around, they are letting the news drop week by week.
With established models like Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio retired after several years of working with the brand, they are looking towards with future with a crop of aspiring stars.
Grace Elizabeth, a 22-year-old model from Florida, has been working with the brand for two and a half years. Since making her debut in the annual VS Fashion Show in 206, she was elevated to PINK spokesperson, the traditional springboard before a promotion to Angel status. In keeping with the qualifications of her established Angel colleagues, Grace works across lingerie and couture markets, walking for Max Mara and Chanel in recent months.
“It’s always been a dream of mine to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. When I set out to model, it was my ultimate goal and it was one of the first things I told my agents I wanted to do,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “I have learned so much, met so many incredible people, some of who are like family to me. I’m looking forward to using this new platform to share my story, raise awareness for causes that are close to my heart and work to encourage other women to follow their dreams.”
Barbara Palvin’s rise to Victoria’s Secret success might be the most deserved trajectory after years of rejection by the brand. Palvin (25), from Hungary, hit the show with gusto in 2012 but fell by the wayside for six years before making her return last year. During that time, her profile soared independent from the brand – landing a number of high profile campaigns and editorials, all while building a fanbase with more than 10 million Instagram followers and landing a celebrity boyfriend (in the form of actor Dylan Sprouse) along the way.
In anticipation of the 2018 show, she says she worked out 10 times a week. She told Vogue Australia last year that despite the welcoming efforts of her model colleagues, she “always feels like a little bit like an outsider” come showtime.
“I never thought it would happen and it has exceeded all my expectations,” she wrote in an Instagram caption announcing the news. “There were times where I let my own thoughts hold me back and it was a hard climb away from those but my family, my team, Ed, and everyone at VS they were always there to support me and uplift me. I am proud to represent Hungary, and most importantly, all of you in this new chapter of my life!
29-year-old British model Alexina Graham made headlines all her own in 2017 when she was involved as the first red haired Victoria’s Secret model to walk the show in nearly 10 years. But the attention catapulted her to rising superstardom, landing contracts with Balmain and L’Oréal over the last three years.
“Being a Victoria’s Secret’s Angel comes with a lot of empowerment. I think for me being a red head VS Angel means I get to put red heads out there more,” she told Glamour UK. “Being an angel is part of having that media outreach so that I can say to young red head kids, ‘you can do anything you want! Nothing is impossible.
“Having red hair is now a powerful part of my identity. It took me a long time to get here, I have gone through so much in the last ten years both in terms of my career and my life.”
Leomie Anderson (26) makes history as the first black British model to be given a pair of permanent wings and she is only the sixth black Angel since the role was launched in 1997. Her journey to success with the brand wasn’t an easy one: she auditioned four times before finally being cast in 2015 and has been closely aligned with the brand since; not to mention walking for Marc Jacobs and Moschino, with a Fenty Beauty contract supplementing her CV.
“Mate, I’m still in shock…This is something I was even scared to dream about because I never thought it would come true but I am insanely excited to announce that I am Victoria’s Secret’s newest ANGEL!! I can’t believe it…,” she wrote on Instagram.
She’s keen to use her platform as a force for goof and launched LAPP The Brand (Leomie Andreson the Project, The Purpose), a website promoting confidence and positivity through fashion.
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