The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is like a holiday to me.
I start getting excited at least two months in advance of the December 5th air date, when my favorite rookie models begin posting about their auditions on social media and the world-famous lingerie brand announces the musical lineup. However, what keeps me and millions of others coming back every year for more are the Angels.
The Victoria’s Secret Angels are the brand’s contracted spokesmodels that are featured in all of the company’s advertising, store signage and promotional events. The Angels are also given the honor of wearing extravagant angel wings during the VS Fashion Show (This has changed recently…but will discuss further on). Famous past Angels include Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Giselle, Miranda Kerr, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Doutzen Kroes and Karlie Kloss.
Straight From Heaven
The earliest Victoria’s Secret Angels helped launch the brand into national recognition after an extremely successful commercial in 1997. By 2004, the ‘Angels Across America’ tour cemented VS Angels as worldwide stars. While many have come and gone, supermodels like Adriana, Alessandra, Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel have been Angels for seven plus years.
However, as time has gone by, Victoria’s Secret has had to make large branding decisions. All of tenured Angels I mentioned now have children, and obviously want to more family time and less rigorous contract requirements. Other Angels left to to pursue new modeling projects, academic endeavors, and become designers of their own.
By 2014, there were only five Angels left. Victoria’s Secret decided to make their biggest group hire in company history as they brought on ten new Angels. These angels were Taylor Hill, Elsa Hosk, Martha Hunt, Stella Maxwell, Sara Sampaio, Lais Ribero, Romee Strijd, Jac Jagaciak, Kate Grigorieva, and Jasmine Tookes. Jac and Kate have since left the brand, and were replaced with Josephine Skriver.
Social Media Superstars
Overall, I believe hiring of new angels came at an invaluable time. Victoria’s Secret wants to turn its branding focus towards millennials, with its CEO recently saying to CNN it would “integrate its business as a primarily digital channel in order to align with how customers engage with the brand.” All nine new angels have a prominent and active image on social media, with a least a million Instagram followers each. The girls regularly post adverts and behind-the-scenes photos of their Victoria’s Secret campaigns, flawless makeup selfies, and impeccable street style. They also interact with their followers on twitter, with angel Josephine Skriver gaining a Twitter fanbase called the “Subskrivers.”
I believe all nine new angels work hard in their positions and represent Victoria’s Secret well. They do align with the brand’s intent to integrate digitally. But this growing digital fame may not be fast enough for the Victoria’s Secret executives. This past fashion show, “social supermodels” Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner walked the runway with extravagant angels wings, though they are not contracted Angels. This goes against the norm of only wearing wings if given the Angel title, and the company faced heavy backlash. Though this move may signal Gigi and Kendall’s future promotions to Victoria’s Secret Angels, it still appeared to consumers as insincere and fame-hungry.
The company needs to realize that while Gigi and Kendall are social media superstars, (over 100 million Instagram followers combined) millennials desire an authentic engagement and are loyal to their favorite influencers. Continuing the tradition of wings to Angels only and letting the social supermodels work towards this achievements presents a level playing field and a genuine appreciation for the beautiful, hard-working faces on the company.
What Do You Think?