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After (finally!) announcing its intention to become a more inclusive company, Victoria's Secret has made public its decision to work with Sofía Jirau, the first model with Down syndrome to ever collaborate with the brand.
The 24-year-old history maker hails from Puerto Rico and is part of Victoria's Secret's "Love Cloud" campaign, which features "18 dynamic women from a myriad of backgrounds." The company, which sells some of the best bras out there, has also hired a trans model, Valentina Sampaio, and an indigenous wildland firefighter, Celilo Miles, to join the initiative.
"I want to tell the whole world that people with my condition, Down syndrome, inside and out, we have no limits," Sofía said to NBC News (opens in new tab). "People who have Down syndrome like me are capable of getting a job, creating their own business and working hard like me."
The model took to Instagram to celebrate her accomplishment, posting her debut photo shot by the brand. She captioned the image in Spanish. "One day I dreamed of it, I worked on it and today it is a dream come true," reads her note. "I can finally tell you my big secret... I am the first Victoria's Secret model with Down syndrome!"
A post shared by Sofía Jirau (@sofiajirau) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
Sofía, who made her modeling debut during Fashion Week 2020, has also inked a deal with L'Oréal Caribe in Puerto Rico. According to TMZ (opens in new tab), she'll be promoting four different products from the brand, including makeup, hair, fragrances and skincare items.
The move by Victoria's Secret has been a long time coming. The brand has been criticized for championing unrealistic body expectations and not doing enough in the realm of diversity for years now. Who can forget their 2014 "Perfect Body" campaign, after all? Although they changed the name of the effort after a ton of disapproving comments, the company has done little to actively better itself throughout the years—until now.
We're here to wish Sofía the best of luck in her current and future work while also hoping this will just be a start for Victoria's Secret when it comes to diversifying its message and actively be more inclusive.
Anna Rahmanan is a New York-based writer and editor who covers culture, entertainment, food, fashion and travel news. Anna’s words have appeared on Time Out New York, the Huffington Post, Fortune, Forbes, Us Weekly, Bon Appetit and Brooklyn Magazine, among other outlets.
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