The embattled lingerie brand, which cancelled its famed fashion show in 2019, unveiled a new roster of stars who will represent Victoria's Secret under its revamped marketing model. Per The New York Times, the Victoria's Secret Angels are no more.
In their place, the brand launched two initiatives, dubbed The VS Collective and The Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers, on Wednesday, June 16.
The first is described as "an ever-growing group of accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change," per the company's press release. "Through social, cultural and business relationships, The VS Collective will work to create new associate programs, revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring content, and rally support for causes vital to women."
Inaugural members of the VS Collective are models, activists, athletes and artists from around the world, including Rapinoe, the pink-haired U.S. soccer champ, and Chopra, the "Baywatch" actress who married Nick Jonas in 2018.
Also joining are South Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech; Los Angeles-based photographer Amanda de Cadenet; Chinese skier Eileen Gu; British model and body activist Paloma Elsesser; and Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio, who made headlines in 2019 for reportedly becoming Victoria Secret's first transgender model.
"At Victoria's Secret, we are on an incredible journey to become the world's leading advocate for women," said CEO Martin Waters in a statement on June 16. He called the new program "a dramatic shift" for VS, adding, "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."
But, as The New York Times claimed, "It is a stark change for a brand that not only long sold lingerie in the guise of male fantasy, but has also been scrutinized heavily in recent years for its owner's relationship with the sex offender Jeffrey Epstein and revelations about a misogynistic corporate culture that trafficked in sexism, sizeism and ageism."
In 2020, scandal plagued the mall destination when The New York Times alleged that the company has a history of "misogyny, bullying and harassment, according to interviews with more than 30 current and former executives, employees, contractors and models, as well as court filings and other documents."
A collective known as the Model Alliance issued a response, saying, "We stand with the courageous women who have come forward and shared their stories, despite fears of retaliation or harm to their careers." De Cadenet signed the letter at the time, along with Christy Turlington Burns, Amber Valletta and more stars.
The year prior, E! News reported that the womenswear brand was facing numerous financial obstacles, including hefty competition from inclusive brands like Aerie and Savage x Fenty, which may have impacted its declining sales.
The CFO of parent company L Brands, Stuart Burgdoerfer, announced in November 2019 that it was time for the Angels to hang up their bedazzled wings, because the televised fashion show was ending. "We'll be communicating to customers, but nothing that I would say is similar in magnitude to the fashion show," he said. "You can be sure we'll be communicating with customers through lots of vehicles including social media and various, more current platforms, if you will."