Victoria's Secret, once known for its scantily clad models, angel wings and racy catwalks, has enlisted Olympic soccer champion Megan Rapinoe, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas and many others in a push to be more inclusive.
The company on Wednesday announced its new VS Collective, a platform it says "will build new, deeper relationships with all women."
Joining Chopra Jonas and Rapinoe in the collective is model and body advocate Paloma Elsesser, 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier Eileen Gu, media personality Amanda de Cadenet, South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech, and transgender model Valentina Sampaio.
"I am humbled to join this group of incredible women to drive change within the Victoria’s Secret brand and beyond," Rapinoe said in a statement. "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."
Sampaio said that being a part of the collective means "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," she said in a statement.
Victoria's Secret has been criticized for years over its marketing that uses slender models dressed in lingerie. In 2019, the company canceled its Victoria's Secret Fashion Show following backlash that it didn't include models of all sizes and backgrounds.
Martha Pease, the company’s chief marketing officer, led the initiative for the VS Collective. She said in an interview Thursday that the idea began roughly a year ago after extensive research and "a lot of work talking to women to understand where we were falling down and where we needed to really focus going forward."
"They told us very clearly we needed to have more representation in our brand," she said. "They wanted to see different types of women who look more like them and the direction that was really clear from what they were saying is to bring a different type of woman."
The VS Collective is part of a larger brand transformation, Pease said, and a lot of thought went into picking the seven women to represent it.
"We looked for women who had a track record of accomplishment but also a multidimensional aspect to who they are and how they show up in the world that would help us bring a different type of narrative to our brand," Pease said.
"Victoria's Secret is changing and the change is focused on being there for women, championing women, and advocating for women in ways that have a positive impact on their lives," she added.