Valentina Sampaio has spread her wings straight into history.
Earlier this month, news broke that the 22-year-old had been hired by Victoria’s Secret, making her the first openly transgender model in the company’s decades-long history. And to Sampaio, this is more than just another job.
“This represents a victory for society, not just the trans community but for all people who currently underrepresented in fashion,” Sampaio told Elle.com. “We are experiencing a moment, an evolution and it is a positive one.”
“Brands are finally learning and catching up to the importance of inclusivity and diversity,” the Brazilian catwalker continued. “It is hugely important moment not only for myself, but my community and beyond.”
Indeed, she feels the weight of her wings. Sampaio told the outlet that she plans to use her voice and presence to “try to change the status quo not only in fashion industry but also in society.”
When asked about the brand’s transphobic history—controversial chief marketing officer Ed Razek has since announced his retirement—Sampaio’s agent swiftly stepped in. “The world and the society are changing super fast,” Erio Zanon said. “So I think that even fashion industry must follow these changes in order to satisfy the new customers demands.”
Sampaio first revealed her new gig on Instagram when she shared a behind-the-scenes shot from an upcoming Pink campaign.
“Backstage click @vspink,” she captioned a shot. “#bastidores #new #vspink #campaign #representatividade #diversity #beauty #selfie #model #life #fashion #usa #vstorm #valentinasampaio #bomdia.”
The following day, she returned with another, writing, “Never stop dreaming genteee #staytuned #bastidores #new #vspink #campaign #representatividade #diversity #beauty #selfie #life #fashion #usa #vstorm #valentinasampaio.”
“Wow finally!” commented a celebratory Laverne Cox.
But don’t expect to see Sampaio strutting down the runway anytime soon. After all, Victoria’s Secret angel Shanina Shaik recently dropped the bombshell news that the annual fashion show has been canceled.
“It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an angel,” she told Australia’s Daily Telegraph. “But I’m sure in the future something will happen, which I’m pretty sure about.”