It’s true: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is canceled for 2019. Not as in, we’re boycotting (though we were already planning on it.) The show was completely, officially dragged off the air for good. Victoria’s Secret’s parent company, L Brands, confirmed as much in a public statement issued today, Nov. 21. “We think it’s important to evolve the messaging of Victoria’s Secret,” said Stuart Burgdoerfer, the CFO to L Brands, in his statement. Sounds like a plan—one that’s been a long time coming for the Angels.
While we love the roster of VS models—from the Brazilian autism awareness activist Lais Ribeiro to the natural hair advocate Jourdana Phillips—we certainly don’t love the transphobic statements that have been shared in the past by Victoria’s Secret’s CMO, Ed Razek, and EVP of Public Relations, Monica Mitro. In a controversial interview with Vogue this time last year, Razek said, “Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show? No. No, I don’t think we should.” Beyond using obviously outdated and offensive language, Razek seemed to suggest that transgender models couldn’t fit into the “fantasy” of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “Well, why not?” he added, “Because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special. That’s what it is.” Clearly, not everyone agrees. Shortly after Razek’s comments went public, last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show tanked at only 3.3 million viewers—making for it’s lowest ratings, ever.
Razek has since quit, and it looks like CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer is learning from his mistakes. “We will be communicating to customers but nothing similar in magnitude to the fashion show,” he said, “We will communicate to customers through lots of vehicles including social media and other channels.”
Hopefully, we can expect these “communications” to be inclusive and supportive of all communities. You know, like Victoria Secret’s competing brand, Savage x Fenty? Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty show, which took place last year three months before Victoria’s Secret 2018 Fashion Show, set a model for diversity in the industry. Models from various ages, races, body sizes, and abilities were set on the same level, across a stage that celebrated their differences rather than whittling them down into cookie-cutter shapes. Even now, Savage x Fenty continues to push boundaries of who gets to be called a model: Today, Rihanna announced that Normani—an athletic, popstar goddess—will be Savage x Fenty’s first brand ambassador.
Victoria’s Secret, get with the program. Hopefully, this break will help you make it there.