Victoria's Secret hires company's first openly transgender model

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WOODBURY -

Valentina Sampaio has become the first openly transgender model hired by Victoria's Secret nearly a year after a top company official was pressured to apologize for implying trans women are off brand.

Sampaio, a Brazilian, has been posting from behind the scenes of a VS Pink campaign to the delight of celebrities who include Laverne Cox, who is also transgender. She posted on one of Sampaio's photos: "Wow finally!"

Last November, marketing officer Ed Razek of parent L Brands Inc., said in a Vogue interview that the annual Victoria's Secret angels TV special would never include "transsexuals" because "the show is a fantasy."

He apologized after outrage ensued.

The groundbreaking new ad campaign with the 22-year-old was shot on Long Island.

Juli Grey-Owens, executive director of Gender Equality New York, has been an advocate for trans rights but has her concerns about Victoria's Secret's new ad campaign. She says the public should know about members of the trans community who are not in the spotlight.

"That's not the true story of where our communities are," Grey-Owens says. "I'm looking to have the general public understand what's actually happening to people in our community."

 

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