With the 2018 Victoria’s Secret show set to air on December 2 (10 p.m. ET on CTV), the company should be thrilled with news headlines it’s generating before the big night. But this one? Probably not the kind of buzz it’s hoping for.
Chief marketing officer at VS, Ed Razek, told Vogue that they’ve considered using transgender models in their shows, but he doesn’t think they should.
“The show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special,” he said.
Sooooo, therefore trans models aren’t welcome to walk the runway with angel wings because they’re not fantasy?
Razek also said that he doesn’t think Victoria’s Secret can be everything to everyone. That includes plus-sizes models, too, which he says “no one has any interest” in watching.
“It is a specialty business; it isn’t a department store,” he added.
Big name models who walk in the lingerie show as well as celebs and regular people were quick to respond on social media. Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge uploaded photos to their Insta Stories that said “Trans and GNC people are not a debate” while Kendall Jenner posted a photo of a pin that read “Celebrate Trans Women.”
— Phillip Picardi (@pfpicardi) November 11, 2018
WHO 👏🏻 IS 👏🏻 THE 👏🏻 VICTORIA’S 👏🏻 SECRET 👏🏻 FASHION 👏🏻 SHOW 👏🏻 FOR 👏🏻
because if it is to sell products, it should feature the full spectrum of folks who want to buy products. especially since thin, cis-gendered women aren’t the only ones who wear fancy underwear. clearly!
— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) November 10, 2018
I, as a transsexual woman and model have a @VictoriasSecret credit card and over 30 pair of panties from them. Sad that I can no longer support the brand since these undergarments were not created for my kind of woman from my understanding. I don’t fit the “fantasy”. Cool.
— Isis King (@MsIsisKing) November 10, 2018
Razek has since issued an apology statement for what he refers to as “insensitive” remarks in the Vogue interview.
“To be clear, we absolutely cast transgendered models for the show. We’ve had transgendered models come to castings… And like many others, they didn’t make it… But it was never about gender,” he said in the statement, which was posted to the official Victoria’s Secret Twitter account.
Please read this important message from Ed Razek, Chief Marketing Officer, L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret). pic.twitter.com/CW8BztmOaM
— Victoria’s Secret (@VictoriasSecret) November 10, 2018
But the apology might be too little too late.
Surely Razek must be good at some parts of his job — he’s held the title for years — but perhaps it’s time for the lingerie giant to freshen up its top level executives, at least when it comes to whoever does the casting and interviews. Choosing leaders who guide a company with dignity and purpose and that respect, listen and promote all people in today’s modern society should be a priority for a global entity like Victoria’s Secret.
And it just so happens that Adriana Lima is retiring from the VS runway this year… maybe she’s looking for a new job, say chief marketing officer for a lingerie brand she’s worked with for decades. Just sayin.