That time of year is slowly creeping upon us yet again. Wool jumpers, falling leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and, of course, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The VS show is a glitzy and glamorous runway, where models walk in beautifully designed underwear, with some of the year’s biggest stars performing alongside them. It is a coveted job in any model’s career, taking months of work and preparation to get a chance to wear the pink dressing gowns and set foot with the Victoria’s Secret Angels on arguably the most popularised fashion runway of the year.
However, not ALL of the models go through the highly competitive casting process (around 400 models were invited to the call backs this year). Of course, the Angels don’t have to, but neither, it seems, do the most famous faces in the show. Celebrity status alone seems to have won a place for Gigi Hadid and her sister Bella in VS 2017, and Kendall Jenner is prevented from walking only by an existing contract with rival lingerie brand, La Perla.
Although all three models were born into rich and famous families, the work they have and continue to put into the industry can’t be discredited; they are good models and look great in VS attire. However, at least some of their access to the industry originally came from their families or their money, and plenty of their huge popularity is connected to their celebrity status outside of their modelling lives. Victoria’s Secret knows how using famous faces who are still ‘model’ enough can engage more customers, and so these models were not casted to the show, but invited.
The modelling industry is brutal and the castings are known to be tough. VS is specifically known because all of its models bar the Angels have to be re-cast each year; it’s ruthless, but fair. The women who go to VS castings will have prepared for months by working out and eating right, and if they earn their spot, then it is important because it is earned. Out of all the other models there, they were chosen.
And so, it discredits all of their hard work when Bella and Gigi are invited. They don’t have to go through the same process as the other models, they’re too good for it! But if they were too good for it, surely they would be Angels? It’s because they’re too famous, because of the publicity they bring to the show and the brand. Many people talk about how ‘it’s not Victoria Secret without Gigi, Kendall and Bella’ and yet Bella has only walked in 1 show, last year, and Gigi and Kendall in a grand total of 2.
Gigi, Kendall and Bella are not bad models, they deserve a place in the Victoria Secret show because they look good on the runway, but they should earn it through castings like every other model, every single year. They’ve claimed in the past that they want their modelling careers to stay separate from their families and part of that means going along to castings like any other model, instead of being ‘invited’ because of their status.
Victoria’s Secret, you have so many beautiful, diverse models, and so many famous faces, who become famous for walking in your show for many years. Is it really fair to pick girls based on popularity? Should anyone but the Angels, who have earned their spot, be invited? It seems like an unfair process which makes the hard work of so many other models seem almost worthless in the face of celebrity.
Text by Katt Skippon
Picture research by Donna Darafshian; featured image from media.gq.com.