Are you interested in becoming a model and strutting your stuff on the runway for the iconic—and controversial—Victoria’s Secret? While the lingerie brand stopped showcasing Angels after allegations of an ongoing culture of corruption, sexual harassment, and worse, it has since changed owners and undergone a full rebranding. Its fashion show made a comeback in 2023 with a focus on diversity and inclusion.
What happened to Victoria’s Secret?
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Since its founding in 1977, Victoria’s Secret has been associated with prestige, beauty, and of course, the angel wings worn by runway icons like Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, and Alessandra Ambrosio.
However, the company has been rocked by serious allegations of cruelty, harassment, and misogynistic behavior. In 2018, multiple models reported sexual harassment at the hands of then–chief marketing officer Ed Razek. They also alleged that then-CEO Leslie Wexner failed to respond appropriately to these claims and often engaged in retaliatory behavior. Razek publicly made transphobic and body-shaming comments in 2018, just before Wexner’s ties to Jeffrey Epstein came to light in 2019.
A subsequent New York Times investigation and Hulu documentary series further highlighted the company’s problematic culture. In light of these events, the Victoria’s Secret empire began to crumble, and in 2019, it stopped producing its annual fashion show.
Razek resigned that year, and Wexner was ousted in 2020. In 2021, the brand became an independent public company—now called Victoria’s Secret & Co.—and announced that it planned to become “the world’s leading advocate for women.”
Why should you consider modeling for Victoria’s Secret?
The rebrand: Thankfully, the company has evolved for the better over the past few years. A 2022 statement published on the company’s Instagram account reads: “For decades, society and institutions—including ours—defined very narrow expressions that represented beauty, sexiness, and self-worth for women. The truth is [that] the only person who can genuinely define a woman is herself. Our role is to leverage our brand to create opportunities for women everywhere to define themselves on their own terms and [to] use our platform to recognize and celebrate that individuality and diversity over and over.”
The Victoria’s Secret World Tour kicked off on Sept. 6 during New York Fashion Week. The event will be publicly available to watch on Prime Video starting Sept. 26. For its first show since 2019, the company assembled the VS20, “a group of 20 innovative global creatives who will conceive four fashion curations from the vibrant cities of Bogotá, Lagos, London, and Tokyo.” The show also aims to showcase a diverse array of models who represent a variety of body types, sizes, ethnicities, and ages.
Visibility: Since it was broadcast on primetime TV, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has long been one of the world’s most-watched. It’s likely that its next wave of streaming shows will greatly increase visibility for its models.
Notoriety: Being chosen as a Victoria’s Secret model comes with a certain level of respectability in the industry; being associated with the likes of supermodels Gisele Bündchen and Adriana Lima is a huge boon in the cutthroat industry.
How to become a Victoria’s Secret model
Finding success at the company is a matter of understanding the brand, knowing how to give good face (and body), leaning into your interests, and landing representation.
1. Familiarize yourself with the brand.
You have to be more than simply a fan; get to know the company’s history and its major players. Since its inception in 1995 until its cancellation in 2019, the televised Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has seen professional models around the world vying for a spot. Familiarize yourself with the updated version of the company so that you know how to market yourself as a model for the brand.
2. Know the qualities that make a good Victoria’s Secret model.
To work in fashion and consumer modeling—not to mention the lingerie and swimwear industries—your overall look, of course, plays a role in the casting process. Since its rebrand, the company has shifted its focus from finding models who meet a narrow set of physical requirements (usually thin, tan, and tall) to seeking out those who give back to their community, support other women, and have something that makes them unique.
The brand’s Undefinable campaign includes the likes of the 80-year-old Bethann Hardison, a long-time model and activist for Black representation in the industry; mixed martial artist Rose Namajunas; and disabled Paralympian athlete Femita Ayanbeku. Other brand ambassadors include the company’s first Malay Muslim model, Nia Atasha; Darren Barnet, its first male model; Emira D’Spain, its first Black transgender model; and Sofia Jirau, its first model with Down syndrome.
While the company still works with more traditional figures like Bella Hadid and Hailey Bieber, words like “powerful” and “undefinable” set the tone for the Victoria’s Secret models of today.
According to CEO Martin Waters, “We are on an incredible journey to become the world’s leading advocate for women. 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.”
3. Know your type.
Just like acting, models fall under a variety of types. Are you interested in working in fashion? Editorial? Runway? Print? Commercial? If you want to be in a Victoria’s Secret show, catalog, or commercial, you need to radiate confidence and be comfortable wearing lingerie. Modeling agents want to see your personality shine through, and the company’s models tend to be friendly and approachable.
4. Practice your walk and poses.
The catwalk can be a Victoria’s Secret model’s secret weapon or downfall, so you better know how to work it. Even if you don’t have the means to seek professional training at this point in your career, learning from the best is just a YouTube search away.
Take notes from runway legends like Pat Cleveland, Shalom Harlow, Naomi Campbell, and Ambrosio. It’s also a good idea to watch clips of Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows from years past. You will get a taste of how to walk, how to look, and how to better present yourself.
If you’re aiming to be a print model for the company, it’s all about knowing how to best show off your body; so put in the work to perfect your standing and sitting poses.
5. Show off what makes you “undefinable.”
Do you have a powerful story of “revolution and transformation”? Whether you’re a community activist, feminist advocate, or just a unique badass, share your story on social media with the hashtag #undefinable and tag Victoria’s Secret. You may just catch the right person’s attention.
6. Get great head and body shots.
Head and body shots are vital for aspiring models to have in their back pocket. It’s the first thing agencies will see on your composite card, so the photo must be eye-catching and make them want to see more. Though there are some similarities between acting and modeling headshots, when it comes to the latter, the shots don’t have to be as tight on your face. Photos framed beginning at your bust line or waist are common in the industry.
7. Create, update, and share your modeling portfolio.
This should include:
High-quality shots taken by a professional photographer
Your personal stats: age, hair and eye color, body measurements, and any unique features
A professional summary
Your contact info
You’ll want a physical portfolio and comp cards on hand in case you end up grabbing an agent’s attention. To increase your chances of landing a Victoria’s Secret gig, post your digital portfolio across your social media pages. Include ones specific to the brand, such as #undefinable, #changemaker, #victoriassecret, #vs, and #vsmodel, as well as more general ones like #model, #aspiringmodel, #lingeriemodel, and #scoutme.
8. Get a subscription to Backstage.
Sign up for an account with us to find notices for current modeling gigs. Subscribing to Backstage also grants you access to invaluable industry insight from professional actors, trainers, casting directors, agents, and more. You can even set up an alert for certain keywords and phrases in job posts (such as “lingerie model”) and build up relevant experience.
9. Research and apply to modeling agencies in your area.
If you want to get hired as a Victoria’s Secret model, you need to be willing to put in the hard work and invest time in your search. You should also find an agent who can hook you up with casting calls for the brand. Use our Call Sheet to find a headshot photographer, representative, and more with one quick search. Agencies that work with Victoria’s Secret include:
Modeling is about more than posing and looking pretty. It takes a lot of time, patience, and work. And just like acting, a lucrative career isn’t something that you can build overnight.
“Passion is definitely one of the key deciding factors, because that motivates the individual to want to do what it takes to pursue it,” Mavrick Models managing partner Jack Maiden told us. “If [aspiring models] want to pursue it, they’ve gotta get out there and find out if there’s an agency that suits them. They’ve gotta go for it.”