Shopping at Victoria's Secret seemed like a right of passage to the teenage girl. The sequins, hot pink sweatpants, box-shaped pink body sprays, and frilly undergarments are just so attractive to the high school girly girl - or at least they are to me. Through my years of shopping at Victoria's Secret, their over-the-top, sparkly style has changed and diversified with the times - a time where girls don't need to be so, well, girly. While you can certainly still get your fix of laciness and neon t-shirts printed with the word "PINK," there is also room for different styles - sporty, hipster, relaxed, and even edgy. But what has not seemed to really change with these styles are the models who are wearing them… more specifically, the "angels" who are displayed in each garment in huge photos in stores, social media, the website, and most notably, the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show starring each girl in an extravagant brand-defining look paired with a huge pair of elegant angel wings.
I would be lying if I said I did not find these girls gorgeous - I tune into the show each year upon air date - but I do believe that the model selection could use a little reform… and this year, the 2018 fashion show introduced a boundary-breaking angel (who absolutely owned the runway), Winnie Harlow.
Winnie Harlow is the first VS model with vitiligo, a skin condition that causes loss of skin color in blotches. Traditionally, Victoria's Secret angels are critiqued for being the most stereotypical models - tall, skinny, blonde, and lacking in diversity of race and body type among a wide range of other things. Each year after enjoying the fashion show, there are always complaints about how these models fail to represent women in today's society... so her addition is kind of groundbreaking, unfortunately. This should not be a step forward; it should just be the way things are done. But I guess change starts somewhere.
Being a girl who has had struggles with confidence in the past, Winnie Harlow really inspired me. Being, in a sense, "different" than the other models in the industry and in the show creates boundaries - but she walked the runway with grace, elegance, and stole the show. It was refreshing to see on the fashion show, and it made it more interesting. Seeing everyone's natural beauty, especially a trailblazer - a girl who makes her mark and advocates for other girls the importance of being yourself, feeling beautiful, and following your dreams.
Change happens slowly, but surely, and Winnie Harlow is making waves - she is the rebirth of the model, the Victoria's Secret model. With styles changing with the times, its about time the models represent a new level of confidence, beyond walking a runway in the latest trends.