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Valentina Sampaio: Victoria’s Secret’s First Transgender Model

Last year the first transgender model appeared in Victoria’s Secret, Brazilian Valentina Sampaio. Against the background of the previous transphobic remarks of former brand marketing director Edward Razek, this news acquired special significance. The company showed that it was ready to change its philosophy and keep up with the times. What do people should know about Victoria’s Secret’s new angel?
She Considers Her Childhood Happy
She was born in a small village in northeast Brazil. Valentina’s family is quite ordinary: mom is a schoolteacher, and dad is a fisherman. Despite all the difficulties with gender identity, Valentina calls her childhood happy. Parents supported her all the time and boasted of her, there was no bullying from her classmates either, as Sampaio explains, they already perceived her as a small girl. According to the model, she always felt like a girl, imagining her world very airy, filled with flowers and pink color. She had a notebook in which she always drew dolls, wrote stories and made fashion sketches. Over time, everything developed naturally as when two people understand that it is a date and not just hanging out.
At age 8, her parents took her to a psychologist, who identified her as a transgender. It is known that until the age of 12, Sampaio did not change her name to Valentina, but she prefers not to tell about her original name as well as the details of the transgender transition. At first, the girl was studying architecture, but then she paid attention to fashion. She was noticed and invited to one of the agencies of Sao Paulo.
The Girl Spent a Lot of Effort to Fight Prejudice
Valentina never hid that she had changed sex, although this caused a lot of problems in her career. Thus, in 2014, one brand rejected her, mentioning the fact that their clients were “too tradition-bound and would not be able to treat the transsexual model well.” She heard many times something like, “This client does not want a transgender model,” but each refusal only gave her strength to fight discrimination. “I think that we should be treated exactly the same as other women: if you are suitable for work according to the standards of beauty, then you can take this place, regardless of any gender perception,” said the model.
Participation in an Independent Movie Helped Her Appear on the Catwalk
Shooting in an independent movie, which took place in Rio de Janeiro helped her become popular across the country. The film was shown at Sao Paulo Fashion Week. Representatives of the local fashion industry did not pay attention to her there, but in a year, she entered the catwalk at Fashion Week in the same place in Sao Paulo. Soon, L’Oréal made a short video about the model, which was released by March 8, and then the company made Sampaio the brand’s ambassador.
It Was Not the First Time She Had Broken a Glass Ceiling in Fashion
Valentina Sampaio already became the first transgender model three years ago, she drew the attention of the world community, appearing on the cover of the French Vogue. In the same year, she went on the covers of Vogue Brazil and Vogue Germany. By the age of 22, Sampaio had a good career: she starred for Vogue, Elle, other glossy magazines, collaborated with brands such as L’Oréal, Opening Ceremony, H&M, Levi’s. However, working with Victoria’s Secret is definitely a new level in her career as well as a new stage in the history of the legendary brand.

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A Year Before She Was Already Trying to Get into Victoria’s Secret
For Valentina Sampaio, joining Victoria’s Secret is not just another step, but a dream. It is known that a year before, the girl was already trying to get there, but she was not hired. In the same year, Edward Razek said the infamous phrase that plus-size models and transgender people have no place in their shows. A little less than a year passed, and the brand changed its mind. The first step to change was the abandonment of Victoria’s Secret’s classic annual show to “rethink the traditional show.” The next step was the news of the company’s first transgender model. Valentina Sampaio has not yet made a big announcement regarding her new status. Even though the phrase she signed the photo from the backstage of the photoshoot for Victoria’s Secret, “Do not stop dreaming,” already says how much this means to her.