How Victoria’s Secret made me who I am today

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This wednesday, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is filmed. I was waiting for this moment since I’ve started the blog, because I knew I should share with you all my greatest lingerie-related history, of how Victoria’s Secret turned me into who I am today. It’s very personal, and I am not used to be this personal on the blog, but I feel the urge to share my life with you all, now, so I hope you enjoy reading a bit about me, too.

Behati Prinsloo was my favourite thing from the 2008 show.
Behati Prinsloo was my favourite thing from the 2008 show.

Brazilians are crazy about Victoria’s Secret. I don’t know exactly why, but I reckon that they do something we don’t have over here. When young, I didn’t like fashion and didn’t care about underwear, just wanted something that made me feel comfortable. However, when I was 14, in a trip to NYC, I asked my mother if we could go to VS. After arriving in the city and eating something in the (cheap) hotel we were, she took me to the huge store at 5th Av. It was closed.

As we asked someone inside the store, we got told that it was because of something I learned to love later: the Semi Annual Sale. Next morning, my family and hundreds of other women were inside the store, and while I was getting measured as a 34B (Spoiler: I wasn’t a 34B, but I had no idea what bra fitting was, by then), my father was buying me pink luggage, my grandma spotted a coat full of hearts and my mother found out that we could buy cheap small gifts that would be very useful, later. It was a great mess, I was in love with that store. The love continued to grow as I came home and kept looking at the website and watching videos from the shows, waiting for the next one.

Erin Heatherton in a fierce outfit and the most amazing glittery boxing gloves.
Erin Heatherton in a fierce outfit and the most amazing glittery boxing gloves, 2010.

A couple years later, I decided that being a model was a good idea. It would be a lie if I said that it was, after all, a completely bad idea, considering all the good things I learned about professionalism and how the fashion industry worked, but it surely brought me a lot of sadness. Combining my love for that store and my desire to become as successful as possible in my new career, I decided that I wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret Angel. I was pretty naïve, and by that time thought everyone was going to be nice with me because I had this objective, and that I was one of the few that wanted to be

Obviously wrong, I found out that almost every girl on the modeling world wanted to be one. Found out, also, that working as a model was not easy and made me very uncomfortable inside my body. I’ve passed through some bad experiences, one in special in which I traveled to the greatest metropole in Brazil and got told by the heads of some big modeling agencies that I was not suitable. There I was, skinny as I could, with a tiny tiny waist and some big dreams, away from home, crying because they told me a lot of girls made it… but not me.

Karlie Kloss in 2012.
Karlie Kloss in 2012, on the PINK section

As a model, you never know exactly what the client is looking for when you are in a casting. There is not an exact reason why you were not chosen, but the girl by your side did. You get told by everyone -models, clients, agents…- that skinny is good, and before you notice, your diet changes, you are eating less and less. I kept home, after school, drinking lots of water, working my abs and walking in high heels, so that I could “earn my wings”. I cried too, a lot, because every “no” sounded like “you are not good enough. not pretty enough. not thin enough”.

Every time I saw the video in which Chanel Iman got her first wings, I cried. I could say this was the saddest time in my life, crying with shame every time I tried to find out why I was not on my way to becoming an Angel, yet.

Chanel Iman, 2010. I cried a lot.
Chanel Iman, 2010. I cried a lot.

Meanwhile, I developed even more my love for underwear. I was a huge buyer of panties and bras, since I didn’t know how more complicated things like suspender belts, stockings or corsets worked. It was just a passion, I was a proud owner of over 100 panties and that’s all. I entered fashion design college, imagining I would work with fashion editorials or something related to wedding dresses.

By this time, two not-VS-related events happened: the first, I stood weeks eating the less I could and saw myself acting like a small trained animal, in line for ours for someone to choose, in a hurry, the most suitable of the girls (Hey, wait – this is what a casting looked like, every time I passed through one. But this was the first time I realized it.). The second, I got fooled by someone, ended up working for free. After some more crying, I decided this would stop. I gave up being a model, and my last words on it were a text message to a friend (we can call him Mr. Unders) asking if I could still be his VS Angel. He said I could and so that’s it, my dream was over.

Flavia de Oliveira, 2006.
Flavia de Oliveira, 2006.

So, I was left out in a fashion design school, trying to find new objectives and dreams, allowing myself to eat everything I loved eating, in a process of acceptance of my own body (thank you, feminism, for helping me with that) and with a growing passion for lingerie. I should start focusing on studying for being a lingerie designer, then!

Trying to put together every thought on lingerie I had, and after I found out that people blog about everything -including lingerie!- I decided to establish myself as a blogger while in college, so I could learn more and more everyday, being in contact with tons of amazing people inside the industry. It’s been an amazing journey so far, and I thank you all from the bottom of my heart. Alone, I could never rise again.

Liu Wen, 2012. Not exactly nice to put "exotic" models in "exotic" costumes, but she absolutely rocked it.
Liu Wen, 2012. Not exactly nice to put “exotic” models in “exotic” costumes, but she absolutely rocked it.

Nowadays, I have risen. I could say I am happy, without putting all my expectations into a certain objective, but facing a direction in which I feel satisfied. I belong in this world, I love to be part of it, to be able to see, read and write about underwear. I still own and wear the VSFS robes, and sometimes -specially when the year is ending- I still feel I would be happy if I got there. But I remember how saddening the road was, and how I search for peace, now, and feel pleased by my decisions.

I thank you all. The ones who read, the ones who share, the ones who make. This blog is part of my life – one of my favorite parts, and I must thank you from the bottom of my heart. I surely am not a Victoria’s Secret Angel, today, but I can shine like one and even without wings, I found new ways to fly.

 

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How Victoria’s Secret made me who I am today

16 thoughts on “How Victoria’s Secret made me who I am today

  1. Mari says:

    Como vc escreve bem… Puro orgulho de vc, do seu texto, do seu modo de pensar e das suas asinhas – sim vc tem! que te levaram onde vc está e continuarão levando para onde vc desejar.
    Bj e te amo

  2. Thank you for sharing that. It sounds like you`re in a lot better place now and goodness know Brazil desperately NEEDS lingerie designers who know about bra fitting and can design something more interesting than all the various plain bras that line the shelves of Lojas Americans! I`m not sure if you every read it but the Lingerie Addict also has a post about how Victoria`s Secret got her into lingerie too. I think it`s a common gateway store for women you can more or less fit into their size. I know in high school all my friends loved it (but I never remotely had a chance to fit into their range).

    1. I never read the Lingerie Addict post! Thank you for sharing the info, I’ll go there straight away. I hope I can introduce correct bra fitting, here, soon! 😉 I just get crazy when I see people wearing Marisa bras that are totally wrong! No wonder they hate to wear them.

      1. Thanks again! ❤ I guess nobody ever told them the bras could fit. Fashion has a nasty concept that makes people think that they should fit the clothes, instead of the clothes fitting them. Terrible 😦

  3. Que lindo, Manu! Fico feliz que voce tenha se desvinculado dessa lógica medonha do mundo de modelo, que voce melhor do que eu, sabe. Se aceitar e ser feliz consigo própria, é ótimo! Um dia, a industria da moda vai permitir pessoas assim e nao fakes e aí sim, voce estará available pra fazer parte disso de novo (: adorei! ❤

    1. Obrigada, amor! É muito difícil porque fazem você acreditar que vale só aquilo, então no começo parece que você ta admitindo que não tem valor 😦 Mas depois de um tempo a gebte nota que tem muito mais opções e vale muito mais do que aquilo!

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