The Victoria’s Secret Rebrand is…Not What We Wanted



While I made my daily drive back from school, one Spotify advertisement struck me in particular- mostly in the wrong way: Victoria’s Secret’s rebranding. 

The ad for their new podcast read, “I’m Amanda de Cadenet and this is VS Voices. In this brand new podcast from Victoria’s Secret, I talk to 10 incredible women: Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Megan Rapinoe, Stella McCartney, Paloma Elsesser, Eileen Gu, Adut Akesh, Valentina Sampaio, and a few surprise guests. All with unique voices, powerful stories, and journeys that inspire change. Our conversations are honest and full of wisdom.” The images for this campaign showed simple nude-colored underwear on dark-skinned models for the first time in Victoria’s Secret’s history. 

But there’s something not quite right about it.

Don’t get me wrong, VS even promoting models that are women of color who pass a paper bag test is a first, even though it should’ve been happening all along. But VS is known for their campy 2000s runway shows, cheeky photoshoots of models biting into lollipops, and bright lacy outfits that I can’t mention here, lest I be censored for breaking the dress code through writing. So why won’t they give their models of color the same image? Why are women of color forbidden to take agency over their own sexuality? It’s always cast upon us from others, never coming from within, never within our control. And when we are finally represented by one of the largest existing lingerie brands, it must be solemn. “Wise.” “Powerful.”  

And a podcast? So they can talk about…what, exactly? How much of an impact is their new look of badly lit, earth-toned photoshoots of somber women going to make? So Priyanka Chopra Jonas can talk about her career, so Megan Rapinoe can talk about soccer… on a podcast for a brand that sells lingerie? That’s not what Victoria’s Secret has ever, not once, been known for. 

By rebranding in this lifeless format where the main difference is the employment of plus-sized, darker-skinned models, VS either consciously or subconsciously sends the message, “Fun and sexuality is for thin light-skinned or white women only.” If they saw us as equals, then why does the way we’re portrayed look so different?

Marketing executives in the clothing and beauty industries, time and time again, fail to realize women of color enjoy being cute, fun, and sexy as much as white women. It’s simply never marketed to us, because God forbid we feel beautiful on our own terms. Do you think women of color don’t want to see themselves included amongst the angels and glamour photoshoots? There are whole untapped demographics for your products because you have never used models of color to sell them or appeal to us in any way. 

Victoria’s Secret: You did alright, but you could do better.