Since its inception in 1995, the women who are hand-picked to walk the Victoria’s Secret fashion show runway have always had a certain look; impossibly long legs, perfectly curved waists and coiffed hair, and toned tummies that must’ve taken thousands of planks to achieve. They’re beautiful specimens who’ve clearly worked their butts off to look this way (with a lucky draw in the gene pool, too).
And while this year VS was applauded for its inclusivity in terms of race — 55 models represented 17 countries in the 2017 show — the brand still isn’t sending women of varying body types down the runway.
For sisters Alyse and Lexi Scaffidi, this is a huge problem. And so, in an effort to start a conversation around body positivity and inclusivity, the pair created an anti-Victoria’s Secret runway show that featured women of all backgrounds, shapes and sizes.
“It’s not about celebrating obesity or anorexia, it’s about breaking away from a stereotypical look of what is beautiful and celebrating who you are as a person,” Alyse said in an interview with Huffington Post.
The idea came to the sisters last year while watching the 2016 VS runway show. They were inspired by the stunning fashion on stage, but at just 4’11, Alyse said she knew that landing on the lingerie giant’s runway wasn’t in her cards. So alongside her sister, 21 women with varying body shapes and body differences were selected to recreate the Victoria’s Secret show.
Women who walked in the anti-VS show included faces like Casey Hanstein, a car crash survivor who suffered from a broken spine in 2015:
December of 2015, 22 year old @chansteinnn life flashed before her eyes. . – She was a passenger in a car accident that ended up wrapped around a telephone pole. . – She suffered a fractured spine and spent countless months in a brace doing very little and attending countless hours of physical therapy. . – PT suggested that she change her career since she is a hair stylist and on her feet most of the day. . – Instead of just giving up and taking the easy route, she chose to work hard and get her body strong again by eating healthy and working out (swipe to see her body transformation in just 8 months💪🏻) . – She said that “this random incident was an eyeopener to how amazing & strong our bodies really are and how often we take them for granted.” . – LOVE YOUR BODY, no matter what shape or size. (Click the link in my bio to check out our BODY CONFIDENCE FASHION SHOW! 💜👆🏼) . . . . . . 📷: @shostikiraphotography @tangiblelittlemoments #bestrong #fighter #fight #nevergiveup #neversettle #salon #style #workout #work #workhard #loveyourbody #loveyourself #body #life #happy #grateful #cars #fitness #hospital #hair #mua #makeup #hairstylist #wcw #bodyconfidence #victoriassecret #fashion #fashionshow #model #njmodel
Jill Ilana who was born with achondroplasia, a form of dwarfism, and is just 3’11”:
One of the beautiful angels that walked in our anti-Victoria’s Secret Fashion show was @jill_ilana !💜 . – @jill_ilana was born an achondroplastic dwarf (the most common of the 300+ types) and is 3”11. . – But being a little person doesn’t hold back this AMAZING individual from living a normal life. . – Something inspiring Jillian said before was that, “I will never know what it’s like to buy a pair of pants that fit me, use all of the gym equipment without difficulty, or walk anywhere without pointing and stares. . – But that’s OKAY. . – Being a dwarf hasn’t stopped me from going to school, driving a car, traveling the world, and overcoming any obstacle that comes my way. And it will NEVER stop me! 👊🏻 . – Quit complaining and start appreciating all that you are blessed with! (click the link in my bio to watch the entire fashion show!👠🧚🏼♀️) . . . . . . . . 📷: @shostikira @tangiblelittlemoments #nevergiveup #angel #victoriassecret #fashionshow #littlepeople #dwarf #model #glamour #instagood #beyourself #bedifferent #runway #dreams #photography #victoriassecretfashionshow #girls #happy #life #smile #inspiration #inspire #workhard #neversaynever #yahoo #buzzfeed #refinery29 #perfectlyme #confidentlybeautiful #women #beyoutiful
And Tessa Desiderio-Snyder who was born with osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, and had her leg amputated in Grade 5 to stop the spread of the disease:
The Scaffidi sisters’ runway proves that you don’t have to be a slender supermodel to turn heads. The definition of beauty can be written so many ways, and each of these anti-Victoria’s Secret runway stars, dressed in lingerie and wings, looked happy and confident in their skin. It’s infectious and the world needs more of this messaging. Rock on, ladies.