Supermodel Kate Upton has joined the call for Victoria’s Secret to embrace more body inclusiveness among its models to inject more diversity and liveliness into the lineup.
According to Fox News, Upton issued her critique of the fashion empire when speaking on “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” after a fan asked her to address the rumors that Victoria’s Secret would not be hosting a fashion show in 2019.
“You know what, we’re sick of seeing the same body type. You have to be body inclusive now,” Upton said, prompting applause from the crowd. “Every woman needs to be represented, otherwise it’s a snooze fest.”
Upton’s comments followed that of Victoria’s Secret Angel Shanina Shaik, who said the fashion show would not be going forward this year as planned. “Unfortunately, the Victoria’s Secret show won’t be happening this year,” Shaik said. “It’s something I’m not used to because every year around this time I’m training like an Angel. But I’m sure in the future something will happen, which I’m pretty sure about.”
Victoria’s Secret has been swirling in controversy in recent days. Earlier in the month, over 100 models, including Christy Turlington, signed an open letter to the company CEO demanding he implement more protective measures against sexual assault and harassment.
“We are writing today to express our concern for the safety and wellbeing of the models and young women who aspire to model for Victoria’s Secret,” the letter said. “In the past few weeks, we have heard numerous allegations of sexual assault, alleged rape, and sex trafficking of models and aspiring models. While these allegations may not have been aimed at Victoria’s Secret directly, it is clear that your company has a crucial role to play in remedying the situation.”
“From the headlines about L Brands CEO Leslie Wexner’s close friend and associate, Jeffrey Epstein, to the allegations of sexual misconduct by photographers Timur Emek, David Bellemere, and Greg Kadel, it is deeply disturbing that these men appear to have leveraged their working relationships with Victoria’s Secret to lure and abuse vulnerable girls,” it continued.
Prior to that, Kate Upton helped spark the #MeToo movement in the fashion industry when she alleged that Guess co-founder Paul Marciano fondled her breasts without consent upon their first meeting.
“Paul came straight up to me, forcibly grabbed my breasts and started feeling them — playing with them actually,” she told Time in 2018. “After I pushed him away, he said, ‘I’m making sure they’re real.’ Despite doing everything I could physically do to avoid his touch throughout the meeting, he continued to touch me in a very dominating and aggressive way, grabbing my thighs, my arms to pull me closer, my shoulders to pull me closer, my neck, my breasts, and smelling me.”
In response to the calls for more inclusiveness, Victoria’s Secret broke barriers by hiring the company’s first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio of Brazil, whose inclusion came months after L. Brands’ (parent company of Victoria’s Secret) Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek sparked ire in the media when he told Vogue that little interest exists for plus-size and trans models on the runway.
“I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis. If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have,” Razek said, adding that the sister division, Lane Bryant, was created to fill that consumer need.
“We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant,” he continued. “Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we.”
“We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world,” he said. “We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t.”