Victoria’s Secret has finally added a plus size model to its line-up. But for many former fans of the brand, it’s too little, too late. In the past year, the lingerie behemoth has already had to cancel its fashion show, and contend with the stain of billionaire investor Jeffrey Epstein’s affiliation with the brand, as it’s alleged that he preyed on would-be Victoria’s Secret models. Not to mention the emergence of inclusive lingerie brands like Aerie, ThirdLove, and Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty which staged its own dynamic Savage x Fenty fashion show last month, putting the nail in Victoria’s Secret’s coffin.
After former L Brands chief marketing officer Ed Razek told Vogue magazine that Victoria’s Secret had no interest in casting plus or transgender models in its holiday-themed fashion show, VS has been scrambling to redeem their reputation in the eyes of the public. Over the summer, the label hired its first transgender model, Valentina Sampaio, and on Monday, it casted curve model Ali Tate Cutler in the Bluebella for Victoria’s Secret campaign. “I believe I’m the first size 14 to work on @VictoriasSecret,” Cutler wrote, sharing the big news on Instagram. “I’m pretty stoked to work with a brand I idolised when I was a teen,” Cutler continued. “Great step in the right direction for bodies.”
But is it? Cutler’s history with body positivity suggests otherwise. In 2016, the model posted an inflammatory Instagram comment in response to Alysse Dalessandro‘s article “11 Reasons Your ‘Concern’ for Fat People’s Health Isn’t Helping Anyone.” “Sorry but I don’t care about people’s health who are fat, that’s their own prerogative and their own life to lead,” Cutler’s statement opened, according to Ragen Chastain‘s blog, Dances With Fat. “They are free to make their own choices. I am a staunch feminist, followed by a close second environmentalist. While some people are genetically obese and are vegetarian, and eating relatively low carbon foot print foods, most obese people are not.”
Cutler continued: “I do care about the excessive amounts of carbon, nitrous oxide, and methane gases it takes to produce a large person; the amount of animals that have been killed; the amount of exploitation that is going on to create fat. That’s not even being mentioned. Being obese is simply bad for the environment, and in this day and age, we cannot afford that lack of empathy anymore.” Fashionista EIC Tyler McCall drew attention to the Cutler’s comments on Twitter, saying: “Ali is… hmmm maybe not the best first plus representative to choose, considering she’s developed a reputation as being fat-shaming.”
some buried ledes here:
Ali appears to have been brought on by Bluebella, with whom she’s worked before, NOT by VS
— Tyler McCall (@eiffeltyler) October 7, 2019
While a more inclusive model cast is a step forward from the brand, Victoria’s Secret isn’t winning back any fans by trotting out a woman who has a problematic take on body image. Once again, the lingerie retailer has missed the mark.
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