Victoria’s Secret uses a size 14 model in a lingerie campaign for the first time EVER – following continued backlash over its lack of diversity, and brutal comparisons to Rihanna’s wildly-successful Savage x Fenty show
- Plus-size model Ali Tate Cutler is working with Victoria’s Secret as part of the brand’s new partnership with London-based lingerie company Bluebella
- Cutler announced on Instagram on Friday that she is the first size 14 model to be featured in a Victoria’s Secret campaign
- While she is part of the Victoria’s Secret X Bluebella campaign, she was brought in by Bluebella and hasn’t been officially hired to model for Victoria’s Secret
- Victoria’s Secret’s new collaboration is its latest attempt to revive its company, which faces competition from brands with more inclusive marketing strategies
- Earlier this year, Victoria’s Secret announced Barbara Palvin would become an Angel, and some noted she’s curvier than the brand’s other models
- In August, the brand hired its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio
- The changes came after the departure of longtime chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who said trans and plus-size models weren’t right for Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret is featuring a size 14 woman in an ad campaign for the first time in history, though it was the model and not the lingerie giant who announced the news.
The company is working with plus-size model Ali Tate Cutler as part of its new partnership with London-based lingerie brand Bluebella, which comes after years of backlash over its lack of diversity and more recently, merciless comparisons to Rihanna’s inclusive Savage x Fenty show.
News of Victoria’s Secret’s collaboration with Bluebella — which uses a mix of plus-size and straight-size models in its campaigns — broke last week, but it was Cutler who revealed that she is the brand’s first size 14 model.
Making history: Ali Tate Cutler has become the first size 14 model to be featured in a Victoria’s Secret campaign
New girl: Cutler is working with Victoria’s Secret as part of its new partnership with London-based lingerie brand Bluebella. She is pictured at the launch of the collaboration on Friday
While attending the launch of the partnership at Victoria’s Secret’s flagship store in New York City last Friday, the model took to Instagram to relish in the historic moment by sharing a photo of herself showing off her curves in a black lace teddy in one of the campaign images.
‘I believe I’m the first size 14 on @victoriassecret?’ she wrote. ‘Regardless I’m pretty stoked to work with a brand I idolized when I was a teen. Great step in the right direction for bodies.’
In an interview with E! News, Cutler explained that while she is not the first plus-size model to work with the brand, she is the first size 14 model to do so.
‘Size 14 is actually the average size of women in America and I do think that we need to see more of it in media and fashion because most women are that size. So, we need to be accurately represented in brands and media,’ she said.
‘For Victoria’s Secret I am so excited that they decided to put a size 14 women like me on the wall,’ she added. ‘I feel like they are headed in the right direction and they are listening to their audience who have requested to see more women of diverse shapes and sizes.
‘I think if they continue to head in that direction they will be on to a jackpot because that is reflective of what the average woman is in America.’
While Cutler is part of the Victoria’s Secret X Bluebella campaign, she was brought in by Bluebella and hasn’t been officially hired to model for Victoria’s Secret.
In a press release that Victoria’s Secret shared last week to announce the collaboration, it was noted that Bluebella stands for ‘self-love, self-acceptance and championing individuality.’
Bluebella for Victoria’s Secret includes an array of lingerie, sleepwear, and hosiery featuring luxe details, including velvet, satin, and embroidered lace.
The line launched at select Victoria’s Secret stores in the US last week, and it will be available at select stores in the UK starting on Friday, October 11.
Thoughts: ‘I feel like they are headed in the right direction and they are listening to their audience who have requested to see more women of diverse shapes and sizes,’ Cutler said
Important to note: While she is part of the Victoria’s Secret X Bluebella campaign, she was brought in by Bluebella and hasn’t been officially hired to model for Victoria’s Secret
Victoria’s Secret’s new partnership is its latest attempt to revive its ailing company, which has faced stiff competition from newer lingerie brands with more inclusive marketing strategies aimed at women of all shapes, sizes, and skin tones.
Earlier this year, Victoria’s Secret announced that Barbara Palvin would become one of its newest Angels. While the 26-year-old Hungarian model is far from plus-sized, she is more curvaceous than the brand’s standard models, leading some to believe that the company was finally listening to public outcry over its lack of inclusivity.
In August, the lingerie brand hired its first transgender model, Brazilian beauty Valentina Sampaio.
The changes came after the departure of longtime chief marketing officer Ed Razek, who faced backlash in November 2018 after he told Vogue that trans and plus-size models weren’t right for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
‘We attempted to do a television special for plus-sizes [in 2000]. No one had any interest in it, still don’t,’ he said. ‘I don’t think we can be all things to all customers. It is a specialty business; it isn’t a department store.’
Struggle: Victoria’s Secret has faced stiff competition from lingerie brands with more inclusive marketing strategies. Elsa Hosk is pictured at the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2018
Changes: Earlier this year, Barbara Palvin (left) was named as a new Angel, with some noting she is curvier than many others. It then hired its first trans model, Valentina Sampaio (right)
Razek apologized for the gaff later, but not before ThirdLove founder Heidi Zak seized on it with a scathing full-page ad in the New York Times.
‘You market to men and sell a male fantasy to women,’ Zak wrote. ‘Your show may be a “fantasy,” but we live in reality… We may not have been a woman’s first love, but we will be her last.’
Three months later, executives for L Brands, the lingerie brand’s parent company, announced that it was closing as many as 53 Victoria Secret stores across the US in 2019.
Victoria’s Secret had already closed 20 stores in 2018 amid a poor annual sales performance, ending the year with former CEO Jan Singer resigning in November.
TV ratings for the annual Victoria Secret Fashion Show also fell to a historic low of just 3.3 million in 2018, down from a high of more than 10 million viewers in 2011, according to a February 13 report from CNBC.
In July, Victoria’s Secret runway veteran Shanina Shaik revealed this year’s fashion show has been canceled, though the brand has yet to confirm or deny her claim.
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