English model and actor Rosie Huntington-Whiteley has a thing or two to say about lingerie company Victoria’s Secret’s attempts at rebranding. In one of her recent interviews, the 34-year-old, who is now pregnant with her second child, has reflected on her time at the company, saying it “missed the boat” while trying to rebrand.
For the uninitiated, in 1995, the company had first promoted its offerings with the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. In it, the iconic ‘Angels’ would walk the ramp wearing lingerie and wings. In 2019, however, it stirred controversy, and with its viewership plummeting, the lingerie brand announced to the world that the show was officially cancelled.
Then, in June 2021, it said there would be a revamp, with the lingerie company introducing its ‘VS Collective’. Angels were replaced with ambassadors — such as the likes of Megan Rapinoe, a 35-year-old pink-haired soccer star and gender equity campaigner; Eileen Gu, a 17-year-old Chinese American freestyle skier; 29-year-old biracial model and inclusivity advocate Paloma Essler; and Priyanka Chopra Jonas.
According to an Independent report, the company’s chief executive Martin Waters had said at the time that the change would be about “reestablishing Victoria’s Secret as an advocate for female empowerment”.
But now, Huntington-Whiteley, who had walked for the brand at its fashion show for the final time in 2010, has said it had been a “different time”. She told The Sunday Times, “It was a different time and it’s crazy [to say that] because it was 11 years ago, which is not that long ago.”
“I do feel Victoria’s Secret really missed the boat with broadening themselves out in the past few years and really listening to the cultural shift of what people are looking for from their brand,” she was quoted as telling the outlet.
According to the Independent report, the supermodel was the fifth highest-paid model in the world in 2017, with an income of $9.5m (as mentioned in Forbes).
Previously, actor Priyanka Chopra Jonas had talked about her collaboration with Victoria’s Secret, writing in an Instagram note “representation matters”. “It’s crucial for us to show everyone all over the world that they matter and are seen!”
The former Miss World, who has been named an advisor to the brand, continued: “It’s been so incredible to see your reactions to yesterday’s announcement. It’s fuelled me further and I am excited to bring about meaningful change at one of the world’s most iconic brands. I’m so proud to be in the company of the Collective of incredible women that will helm this change.”
Reportedly, Huntington-Whiteley is not the only former Angel to talk about the need for the lingerie brand to rebrand. Supermodel Heidi Klum had previously stated that it was “about time”.
“About time, is all I can say. About time,” she had told The Sunday Project. “As a model, you go there, you are happy to have a job. When you are not the company, you do what you are told. But finally, looking at this now, I’m like, about time.”