Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer has quit just days after the lingerie company hired its first transgender model.
Valentina Sampaio, from Brazil, has signed a contract with the US fashion brand in a move by the retailer to modernise its image.
Sampaio’s hiring comes nearly a year after top executive Ed Razek apologised for implying trans women were off-brand.
Razek, who has now retired, sparked outrage last November when he said in a Vogue interview that the annual Victoria’s Secret angels TV special should not include “transsexual” models because “the show is a fantasy”.
The 22-year-old model has been posting from behind the scenes of a VS Pink campaign to the delight of fans, including celebrities such as Laverne Cox.
Cox, who is also transgender, commented on one of Sampaio’s photos: “Wow finally!”
Sampaio posted a backstage Instagram photo of herself in a white dressing gown on a shoot this week, with the hashtags #diversity and #new #vspink #campaign, referring to Pink, the brand launched in 2002 aimed at younger women.
The model has appeared on magazine covers including Vogue Paris, Vogue Brasil and Elle Mexico, and is one of a growing number of trans models amid pressure for the fashion industry to become more diverse and inclusive.
The largest lingerie retailer in the US, Victoria’s Secret is famed for jewel-encrusted bras and dazzling “angel” wings worn by supermodels including Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio and Adriana Lima.
It is rethinking its annual fashion show after criticism it is sexist and out of touch as network television viewing figures have fallen.