Model campaigns to be first trans person of color on VS runway

There’s a first for everything, and one model is trying her best to break new ground in the fashion industry.

According to Cosmopolitan, model Leyna Bloom took to Twitter last week to tweet two stunning photos of herself in a bikini. But it was the caption that caught people’s attention — and spurred a movement: “Trying to be the 1st Trans model of color walk a Fashion show. 💕

With one single tweet, the model — who has already appeared on the runway for Chromat and The Blonds, says Cosmo — began a crusade to become the first transender model of color to walk the runway for the major lingerie brand. Cosmo reports that so far, the post garnered well over 100,000 retweets and 30,000 comments in support of Bloom’s campaign.

With people flocking to her support, Bloom knows that should she get the chance to appear in a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, her presence on the runway has the potential to be game-changing.

“[That brand has] the power to set the tone, and that would be the biggest leap up to date,” she told Yahoo, according to Cosmo. “Can you imagine what that would do for our world? We all have unique stories; we are just different, and we have every right to be. We just want to be represented, and maybe they will want to represent us too.”

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Graham gives [not-so-subtle] hints to VS

When describing the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, one phrase pretty much sums it up: a glitzy extravaganza of skinny supermodels parading down a runway in lingerie. But one model wants to see that change.

According to Glamour, Ashley Graham took to Instagram last week to share her aspirations of walking the catwalk of the VS Fashion Show by sharing a photoshopped image of herself in lingerie wearing a large pair of the famed angel wings, depicting her on the VS runway. While she already has the look down, Glamour says the photo is actually from her trip down the catwalk during New York Fashion Week for Canadian clothier, Addition Elle.

Captioning the photo, “”Got my wings! 🦋💐🌈😜 .. my #AdditionElle wings! #thickthighssavelives,” Glamour says Graham is continuing to put pressure on Victoria’s Secret to include plus models in their lineup. During last year’s show, Glamour reports that Graham “uploaded fan art of herself in a similar outfit, walking in front of the brand’s signature pink-and-white stripes under a sign that read ‘Victoria’s Secret Plus!,'” and days later, she told TMZ that she would immediately say ‘yes’ if the lingerie company called her to model for them.

Here’s hoping Graham’s dream comes true so she can keep breaking boundaries in the modeling game!

Borges to represent L’Oreal Paris

L’Oreal Paris is on a mission to make beauty more inclusive, and their mission continues with Maria Borges.

A regular Victoria’s Secret model, Borges was recently named the new face of L’Oreal Paris, according to ELLE. Borges first made a name for herself in the industry back in 2015, says The Cut, after walking the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show with natural hair.

In addition to fronting ad campaigns for the beauty brand, ELLE reports that her new position allowed her to “elect one model to make her runway debut at Paris Fashion Week, Olamide Ogundele from Nigeria.”

As for Borges herself, The Cut shared that she is ready to promote inclusivity and facilitate change.

“I believe in the beauty of diversity and the empowering message that a girl who started from the bottom can be an international beauty symbol and be living proof that our dreams are valid, and the future ahead of us is bright.”

Modeling Their Point

Yesterday, I stumbled upon an article from Buzzfeed in which six of their female staff members decided to recreate photos of Victoria’s Secret models wearing the brand’s latest swimsuits. Each staffer chose the swimsuit and image they wanted to recreate, and they not only shared the final product, they also shared their thoughts while modeling the swimsuits.

Several of the staffers expressed their discomfort and uneasiness about being photographed in a bathing suit, explaining how comparing themselves to the models made them feel especially uncomfortable about their bodies and their looks. However, at the end of the process, each staff member felt that the experience was positive overall, concluding that not only are we all beautiful in our own ways, but also that true beauty has no definitive size or shape.

While the Buzzfeed staff reached a positive conclusion, many readers seemed to be less-than-appreciative of the piece. Several commenters immediately railed the staff for using the term “real women” when referring to themselves, claiming that by using the term, they were labeling the models as “aliens,” as one commenter phrased it.

Although the commenters are correct in that the models are no less “real” than the Buzzfeed staff, it seems that they are missing the overall point of the article. The point of the piece was to show that no matter what size or shape a woman is, they can still be beautiful in a swimsuit; they don’t have to be a model’s size to feel like they can look good in a swimsuit, but rather they are already beautiful as they are. This was not about alienating the models or making them out to be anything less than ‘real women.’ Just because models have slender bodies does not mean they aren’t ‘real women.’ Nor are slender women that we see everyday less ‘real’ just because they are skinny. All women of all shapes, sizes, heights and skin tones are ‘real.’

What these six Buzzfeed staff members set out to prove was that we as women don’t have to feel obligated to look like models in order to feel comfortable in a swimsuit. After modeling the swimsuits, one staffer even said, “You don’t have to look like the model to rock the suits!” Another commented, saying “We may not all be models, but the world is a runway for ALL of us.” The point of the article, then, was not to throw shade at models or skinny women; the point was to show that all women are beautiful in their own ways, whether we are a carbon copy of a Victoria’s Secret model, a size 2, a size 12 or a size 22.

The last sentence of the article says, “Remember, no matter your size or your shape…you’re fabulous.” This is the the point of the article — that all women of all shapes and sizes are fabulous and beautiful, and the six staffers certainly modeled this point.

What do you think about this piece? I’d love to hear from you, so drop be a comment below!

XO,

Nicole