The Victoria’s Secret Angels have captivated our attention on the runway, in magazines, on billboards, and on television screens for years. From the first official Angel, Karen Mulder, to Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks, Helena Christensen, Miranda Kerr, Devon Windsor, and a myriad of other famous faces — these Victoria’s Secret models have become icons of beauty, body confidence, and female empowerment.
However, not every Victoria’s Secret model is an Angel. Those carefully selected for the elite gig have to meet strict standards, abide by specific contracts, and work hard to fulfill their obligations and look their absolute best. It’s a lot of work, but it’s work that comes with major perks (as well as a set of wings). Namely, the difference between being a Victoria’s Secret model and being an Angel is the money, fame, and endless opportunities attached to the Angel gig. Elsa Hosk explained it best in a video on the brand’s YouTube channel. “Becoming an Angel means you are officially part of the family of Victoria’s Secret and you are a spokesperson for the whole brand,” Hosk revealed.
Want to know more? Here’s what it’s really like to work as a Victoria’s Secret Angel.
Getting in tip-top shape is part of the gig for Victoria's Secret Angels
A Victoria’s Secret Angel may be blessed with good genes, but she has to work her perfectly in-shape butt off to keep her figure runway-ready.
Former Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima told Insider that she exercises daily and especially enjoys getting sweaty while rope jumping and boxing. “I am at the gym every day,” Lima revealed. She continued, saying, “Or if I’m not at the gym, I’m working out somewhere, like in my bedroom.”
Of course, not every model loves getting her fitness on — but, like it or not, it’s part of the job. Retired Angel Alessandra Ambrosio admitted to Glamour that she’s not always chomping at the bit to work out. “I don’t love exercise. I’m normal, I hate going to the gym, but I do it because I have to,” Ambrosio revealed. She continued, saying, “I usually like doing yoga and being outside playing sports … I try everything that I can.” Those definitely sound like fun exercises to try instead of the treadmill!
Makeup is not just for the Victoria's Secret Angels' angelic faces
The Victoria’s Secret Angels have perfectly bronzed, made-up faces when walking down the runway or posing for a photoshoot. However, the models are often known to spend hours in the hair and makeup chair getting prepped and primped for a shoot or show. And it’s not just their faces being bronzed and air brushed.
Jimmy Coco, official spray tanner to the Angels, revealed his secrets to Harper’s Bazaar, saying, “I always define the center line of the abdominals and the spine of the back.” He continued, revealing, “I tan around the breast to give a lighter appearance at the top of the breast. This gives lift to the breasts and draws attention to the beautiful bra they’ll be wearing.” Added Coco, “My butt contour is a heart-shaped contour which also gives the appearance of a butt-lift.”
In 2009, Selita Ebanks joked in an interview with the The Cut, “People don’t realize that there are about 20 layers of makeup on my butt alone.” Well, now we know!
Victoria's Secret Angels need to have looks and business acumen
Being a Victoria’s Secret Angel calls for a flawless face and a slamming body; however, it also requires some serious street and book smarts, an entrepreneurial spirit, and savvy acumen.
In 2017, Ed Razek (then Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret) told Insider that Victoria’s Secret models “are young businesspeople.” He continued, explaining, “They’re crafting their brand in their own way across channels — Instagram, Snapchat, [and] Facebook.”
Victoria’s Secret Angel Jasmine Tookes told Insider she knows how fortunate she is to be on the lingerie brand’s elite modeling roster. “Victoria’s Secret gives us such a big platform,” she said. Tookes continued, revealing she had big plans for the rest of her career. “My goal is to have my own cosmetics line and maybe even a talk show,” she told Insider. Fortunately for Tookes, plenty of gifted Angels have launched mega-careers and major businesses during and after their stints with Victoria’s Secret. Just look at Tyra Banks and Heidi Klum, whose various business ventures have made them two of the richest Victoria’s Secret models.
Victoria's Secret Angels should be role models
A Victoria’s Secret Angel has to be, well, fairly angelic. While some supermodels might have a bad girl reputation (we’re looking at you, Kate Moss), Victoria’s Secret Angels are expected to look and behave like they have the eyes of the world watching them — which, of course, they do.
Adriana Lima knew that she had a responsibility to be her best self during her time as an Angel, but she also was the first to admit that she was far from a cookie-cutter Victoria’s Secret Angel. “You have to be yourself,” Lima told Shape. She continued, saying, “Each one of us has our own thing going on that we bring to the runway, and we show it.” Added Lima, “Just embrace yourself, because the minute you try to be something you’re not, you lose your identity.”
However, Angels realize younger girls look up to them, and they try their best to set a good example for their young fans. “I hope I’m a good enough role model,” Candace Swanepoel told Glamour. She continued, saying, “I try to just live my life as a good person.”
A good personality is a prerequisite for a Victoria's Secret Angel
Victoria’s Secret Angels may love a catwalk, but a catty attitude isn’t allowed if you’re one of these elite, renowned supermodels.
As Victoria’s Secret’s former Chief Marketing Officer, Ed Razek, told Insider, “There are a lot of women who have a strong modeling career, but you want a team who can interact with each other, who are supportive of each other.”
According to Razek, the Victoria’s Secret brand seeks out gorgeous, yet grounded women who they know will appeal to other women. Contrary to what some may believe, Victoria’s Secret isn’t all about appeasing men. After all, the Victoria’s Secret brand aims to appeal to the women who will be buying and wearing their bras, panties, and lingerie sets – hopefully becoming repeat customers. “It’s important that women look to the models as people they would like to be friends with, have lunch with, [and] hang out with,” Razek revealed to Insider.
Prioritizing a healthy diet is practically a job requirement for Victoria's Secret Angels
Victoria’s Secret Angels typically steer clear of sinful foods.
While she’s not an Angel, Britt Maren shed some light on what a Victoria’s Secret model eats in a day, sharing with My Domaine that she’ll usually kick off the morning with a hot cup of water with lemon. Maren also revealed that her daily diet is chock full of trendy health-forward buzz words like “kombucha,” “avocado toast,” and “almond milk,” However, she’s all about striving for balance: “Dessert is never a question for me — it always has to happen, and my freezer is stocked with baked goods,” Maren said.
That said, some Angels have been known to go to a questionable extreme in the pursuit of the perfect Victoria’s Secret body. Former Angel Adriana Lima admitted that, after having a baby, she went on a nine-day liquid diet to prepare for the Victoria’s Secret fashion show. As reported by The Sun, she drank “powdered egg protein shakes and a gallon of water a day.”
Victoria's Secret Angels hold themselves to strict body standards
Victoria’s Secret Angels apparently have to measure up to some very specific — and arguably unrealistic — standards.
According to The Sun, the elite models must be five feet, nine inches tall and have a 24 inch waist. Their breasts and hips should both measure at 34 inches. Additionally, they are supposed to have just 18 percent body fat — or perhaps even less. Per Healthline, it’s recommended that a regular, healthy woman, aged 20 to 39, have between 21 and 32 percent body fat. So, needless to say, hearing that some Angels have only 18 percent is a bit concerning.
Victoria’s Secret’s model trainer, Dan Roberts, told The Sun that he treats “their bodies like athletes” and helps them “prepare for shows through scientifically designed nutrition and exercise plans.” Those stringent mandates and precise numbers can mess with a model’s mind set, however. Cameron Russell, a former Victoria’s Secret model, told the publication that the brand’s top girls “have the thinnest thighs and the shiniest hair and the coolest clothes,” adding that “they are the most physically insecure women, probably, on the planet.”
The details of the Victoria's Secret Angels' contracts are kept under wraps
Victoria’s Secret Angels are some of the most enigmatic people on the planet — and their contracts are equally as mysterious.
If you want to know the ins and outs of an Angel’s contract, you’ll likely have a hard time getting the inside scoop. As noted by The New York Post (via Page Six), the legal obligations of the Angels are a highly-guarded industry secret. However, this hasn’t stopped rumors and speculation sparked by unnamed inside sources who claim that the contracts’ fine print is specific and the details are super strict. In fact, one anonymous source told The Post that the Angels are unable to “work with other beauty, swim or fragrance brands.” Additionally, they’re not allowed to model for specific brands such as American Eagle.
Moreover, per The Sun, Victoria’s Secret Angels are expected to commit 50 days per year to promoting the company through shoots, shows, appearances, and events. The obligations are real, and the commitment is not for the faint of heart. As noted by The Fashion Law, model Jac Jagaciak concurred that being a Victoria’s Secret Angel is definitely “a full-time job.”
Victoria's Secret Angels can expect to travel the globe on the job
The Victoria’s Secret Angels must have an adventurous spirit if they want to fully enjoy all the aspects of their job.
After all, being a jet setter is part of every Victoria’s Secret Angel’s gig, as these elite supermodels are often flown from location to tropical location for runway shows, photoshoots, and press appearances. Hey, it’s a tough job, but somebody has to do it.
In 2015, Victoria’s Secret Angel Jac Jagaciak told CNBC that her favorite thing about modeling for the lingerie brand and other big companies is exposure to different countries and cultures. “Traveling and exploring the world is something I love to do outside of work too, so it’s great when I get to see new places thanks to my job,” she said. Her favorite destination the job took her? Rome, Italy. “We were there to shoot the Victoria’s Secret Holiday campaign,” Jagaciak revealed. She continued, saying, “I spent most of my time on set but had lots of pizza and gelato!”
Victoria's Secret Angels can't be shy
As every Victoria’s Secret Angel knows, parading around in nothing but a lingerie set is not a job for the faint — or introverted — of heart.
While strutting your stuff on a runway or posing for the camera can be considered akin to acting or playing a part, these showy gigs still require a hearty dose of confidence. And, even behind the scenes, Victoria’s Secret Angels need to feel good in their own skin and feel comfortable with others (like photographers and their fellow Victoria’s Secret models) getting up close and personal.
Fortunately, the models do get privacy. Speaking to Vogue, former Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek described a “naked room” where the models and Angels get ready for the Victoria’s Secret runway. “There is no one allowed in that room except their dressers,” Razek revealed. He continued, saying, “It’s a place where we definitely don’t want photographers, and they have two female guards outside of the tent, and that’s where they put on their jewelry, their wings, and everything else.”
Victoria's Secret Angels make good money for all that hard work
Being a Victoria’s Secret Angel comes with a big, fat paycheck – though, it’s neither as big nor as fat as it once was.
Back in the heyday of Victoria’s Secret, being an Angel could be a six figure gig. However, rumor has it that the job isn’t quite as lucrative anymore. In 2015, an undisclosed source told The New York Post (via Page Six) that the pay “isn’t what it used to be.” The source continued, “Older contracts like Alessandra Ambrosio were in the millions, now they’re like $100,000.” The anonymous interviewee also noted that Victoria’s Secret only had “four angels” at the height of its popularity. These days, there are more winged women collecting checks, meaning there’s less money to go around.
However, the Victoria’s Secret Angels are still living comfortably and making bank. According to Vogue Australia, Victoria’s Secret Angels are some of the highest paid supermodels in the entire world, with select Angels reportedly earning millions. Where do we apply?
Victoria's Secret Angels put in years of work before getting their wings
Becoming a Victoria’s Secret Angel isn’t something that just magically happens. Instead, it’s something some models work toward their whole lives.
While some people might assume being a Victoria’s Secret model is all about having a pretty face and perfectly toned body, those people couldn’t be more wrong. Victoria’s Secret Angels do not gain their beloved wings without sufficient time and ample patience. In fact, it can take years to graduate from Victoria’s Secret model to Victoria’s Secret Angel — and there’s really no guarantee it will ever happen at all.
In a video posted on the brand’s YouTube channel, Elsa Hosk said that she was a part of every Victoria’s Secret PINK photo shoot for three years until she was finally promoted to Angel status. Hosk shared more of her inspiring success story with Glamour, revealing, “It’s such a journey getting here — some of us have been working ten to 15 years as models and deal with a lot of rejection.” Added Hosk, “It’s a long process.”
Snagging the Fantasy Bra is a high honor for any Victoria's Secret Angel
For a Victoria’s Secret Angel, getting selected to wear the stunning, jewel embellished Fantasy Bra in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show (or even just a photoshoot) is a huge deal and major accomplishment.
Supermodels Tyra Banks, Alessandra Ambrosio, and Heidi Klum are all members of the “Fantasy Bra Club,” as noted by Glamour. And once an Angel has had that honor bestowed upon her décolletage, she is pretty much destined for even more modeling greatness.
Wearing the Fantasy Bra is like donning the most glitzy, elaborate, expensive jewelry you could possibly imagine. Swedish supermodel and brand Angel Elsa Hosk was elated when she found out she would be rocking the bra — which boasted 2,100 diamonds — at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: “I was shaking,” she told Vogue. The year before Hosk wore the sparkling brassiere, Lais Ribeiro was the lucky lady who was chosen to strut down the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show catwalk in the Champagne Nights Bra — which was valued at a whopping $2 million, according to Glamour.
The future of the Victoria's Secret Angels is in question
Have the Victoria’s Secret Angels fallen from their heavenly rank?
As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Victoria’s Secret canceled their annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show in 2019, citing declining ratings and an evolving strategy. The brand’s CEO Les Wexner said in a statement (via CNBC), “We’re focusing on developing exciting and dynamic content and a new kind of event — delivered to our customers on platforms that she’s glued to … and in ways that will push the boundaries of fashion in the global digital age.”
Still, many suspect that the announcement had something to do with the departure of Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek, following his controversial comments in an interview with Vogue about the show’s inclusivity — or, rather, its lack thereof. Specifically, comments Razek made defending the brand’s decision to not include the trans and plus size models stuck a nerve with many customers and viewers of the fashion show. Only time will tell what will happen to the Angels, but one anonymous insider told The New York Post (via Page Six), “The industry has just changed overall. I could see the Angels going away.”
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