Victoria’s Secret on Wednesday announced a “dramatic shift” for the lingerie brand, hiring Megan Rapinoe, Priyanka Chopra Jonas and more high-profile women as spokeswomen for a new initiative. This comes after the brand has struggled with its image in recent years, coming under fire in 2018 for comments made about the exclusion of transgender women in its shows.
The new initiative, called The VS Collective, seems like a 180-degree turnaround for Victoria’s Secret, tapping a diverse array of women that also includes transgender model Valentina Sampaio. She also made history last year, becoming the first trans model to appear in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
“I am honored and grateful to be a part of The VS Collective in celebration of authenticity, community and love for all women,” Sampaio, 24, told TODAY in a statement. “I believe in the power of The VS Collective and know that together, we can raise our vibration and catalyze positive change throughout the world. Being a trans woman often means facing closed doors to people’s hearts. As a powerful global platform, Victoria’s Secret is committed to opening these doors for trans women like me, by celebrating, uplifting and advocating for ALL women.”
According to a press release, the collective is “designed to positively impact the lives of women.” It will work toward creating relationships for the lingerie brand, also creating new associate programs, product collections, content and support for important causes pertinent to women.
In addition, the brand is also launching The VS Global Fund for Women’s Cancers to fund innovative research projects aimed at progressing treatments and cures for women’s cancers.
“At Victoria’s Secret, we are on an incredible journey to become the world’s leading advocate for women,” Martin Waters, chief executive officer of Victoria’s Secret, told TODAY in a statement. “This is a dramatic shift for our brand, and it’s a shift that we embrace from our core. These new initiatives are just the beginning. We are energized and humbled by the work ahead of us.”
Among the first to join the collective are Rapinoe, Chopra Jonas, Sampaio, Adut Akech, Amanda de Cadenet, Eileen Gu and Paloma Elsesser.
“With The VS Collective, we are creating a platform that will build new, deeper relationships with all women,” Martha Pease, chief marketing officer of Victoria’s Secret, told TODAY in a statement. “Through a series of collaborations, business partnerships and cause-related initiatives, we’re bringing new dimensions to our brand experience. In marrying our new partners’ energy, creativity and perspectives with our network and scale, we can transform how we connect with and show up for women.”
One of the first initiatives of the collective will be a recurring podcast hosted by de Cadenet, an award-winning journalist and photographer, that will focus on each of the women’s individual experiences and their relationship with the brand.
“I am humbled to join this group of incredible women to drive change within the Victoria’s Secret brand and beyond,” soccer star Rapinoe, 35, said in a statement to TODAY. “So often I felt myself on the outside looking in with brands in the beauty and fashion industry, and I’m thrilled to be creating a space that sees the true spectrum of ALL women. I believe in the power of authenticity and community and am excited to show what can be done through The VS Collective.”
Chopra Jonas, 38, detailed a memory of hers from when she was 16 years old, opening a Victoria’s Secret present from her aunt.
“A new era always brings a sense of freedom, and the opportunity to play a part in shaping the evolution and future success of a heritage brand like Victoria’s Secret is so exciting to me,” she continued. “As we work together to chart the path forward in a new and impactful way, I’m not only looking forward to developing future collections that are inclusive of all people, but I am most excited for new customers and for those who have always been a customer of Victoria’s Secret to feel represented and like they belong.”