By: BRIANNE SMITH
The annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired live on CBS television Tuesday night. The women who participate in the fashion show are idolized in the eyes of many young girls and women for the confidence they exude and in their performance onstage.
While some may feel the show is degrading or shameful to a woman’s image of beauty, the models are doing their job as employees of the Victoria’s Secret agency. And it is a job that the women love and feel honored to do. It is not merely a lifestyle, but a career.
“It’s a dream come true for me,” said Lily Aldridge, one of the models, at Tuesday’s show.
Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, who is the creative-director for Victoria’s Secret and helps cast women for the job, says they look for women who are “enthusiastic, positive, happy and healthy.”
This says something about the industry and the way in which the stereotypes behind models are changing. The Victoria’s Secret models are noticeably more fit than the typical runway model. Though they are still thin, they look substantially healthier than many models, and train as professional athletes.
In an article for the Daily Mail, Neophitou-Apostolou told a reporter, “It’s not about being thin or anything like that. It’s about being ready to perform and be the best you can be in that moment.”
“It’s a new kind of image that they’re portraying, they aren’t just the stereotypical ‘skin-and-bones model’. They are creating more of a positive image for women in the way that you can see they are muscular and toned, so when you see them you become inspired to live a healthy lifestyle,” said Lindsay Campbell, a Carleton University student.
The models represent a range of nationalities, bringing ethnic and cultural diversity to the show, and are gaining a larger audience world wide. The angels come from all parts of the world, including South Africa, Brazil, Australia, the Netherlands, and the United States.
The show is an international spectacle. Aside from the fashion aspect, it includes a variation of musical performances that appeal to different ages and genders.
The Victoria’s Secret industry also participates regularly in charity work. Since 2002 the Victoria’s Secret agency has donated more than $5 million to charities such as the American Cancer Society, Dance4life, which works to stop the spread of Aids, and Safe Haven, which supports people affected by violence.
This past year, the Angels cycled for charity to benefit an annual bike tour, Pelotonia, that raises money for cancer research. Victoria’s Secret matched every penny raised in ticket sales for the event.
“They’re inspiring in the way that they’re so comfortable with themselves and their body image. They may not even make you want to look exactly like them, but inspire you to hold the same amount of confidence about yourself, and be happy with your body the way it is,” Campbell said.