Victoria’s Secret introduces its first model with Down syndrome

(CNN) — This week, model Sofía Jirau, 24, became the first person with Down syndrome to appear in a Victoria’s Secret campaign.

The Puerto Rican model appeared alongside 17 other women to promote the new Love Cloud collection, which the brand hopes will “reinforce Victoria’s Secret’s commitment to welcoming and celebrating all women,” according to a press release.

The group is made up of professional and non-professional models, of different skin tones, body sizes and ages. Famous faces like Hailey Bieber, Taylor Hill and Adut Akech are joined by Celilo Miles, an indigenous firefighter who poses with her helmet and Sylvia Buckler, an accessories designer and mom who holds her baby bump in her portrait . Valentina Sampaio, who became the lingerie brand’s first openly transgender model in 2019, is also in the campaign.

On Wednesday, Jirau took to Instagram to express his excitement about the milestone.

down syndrome model

Sofia Jirau, 24, from Puerto Rico, is the first model with Down syndrome to model for Victoria’s Secret. Credit: Victoria’s Secret

“One day I dreamed of it, I worked on it and today it’s a dream come true. I can finally tell you my big secret… I’m the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome!” her post reads. “Thank you all for always supporting me in my projects. Thank you Victoria’s Secret for seeing me as a #NoLimits model and making me part of the Love Cloud Collection inclusion campaign. This is just the beginning!”

Jirau has been modeling since 2019 and also owns an online store called “Alavett”, a play on words in Spanish and English for the phrase “I love it”. In February 2020, Jirau became one of the few models with Down syndrome to walk the runway at New York Fashion Week. She emphasizes through her social media accounts that her goal is to encourage others to pursue her dreams.

“I always say ‘inside and out there are no limits’ to motivate people to overcome their self-imposed limitations,” he writes on his website.

The new campaign features 18 women, both professional and non-professional models, for a new line of bras and underwear focused on comfort. Credit: Victoria’s Secret

The new campaign is part of Victoria’s Secret’s continuing attempts to transform the narrow view of what is sexy that it cultivated for decades. Following criticism of the brand’s resistance to broader representation and the cancellation of its highly anticipated televised fashion show, Victoria’s Secret said last summer that it would focus on creating lingerie for women of all shapes, sizes and backgrounds. . “The Angels,” the name of the brand’s supermodels, have been retired to make way for VS Collective, an ambassador program featuring seven women known for their awareness work, including soccer player Megan Rapinoe and actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas.

Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio is part of the ambassador program of the VS collective, founded last year, as well as the new Love Cloud campaign. Credit: Victoria’s Secret

Some of the founding members of the VS Collective are now featured in the Love Cloud campaign, including Bieber, Akech, Sampaio, and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser.

Creative director Raúl Martínez said in a statement that the campaign is “an important moment in the evolution of the brand.”

“From the cast of incredible women who bring the collection to life, to the incredible inclusive spirit on set, this campaign is an important part of the new Victoria’s Secret standard we’re creating,” she said.

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