5 things models do before they walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show

Model Cheyenne Maya Carty sits backstage at the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
  • It takes a lot of work to become a Victoria’s Secret model or Angel, and even more to land a role in the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
  • Not only do the models need to deemed beautiful and extremely fit by casting directors, but they also need to win them over with a strong work ethic and personality.
  • Models and Angels spend hours in the gym during the weeks leading up to the show.
  • On the day of the show, models and Angels are subject to hours of hairstyling and makeup application.

When you think of Victoria’s Secret, you probably picture its supermodels and Angels.

They showcaseVictoria’s Secret lingerie in advertisements and walk the runway during the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. To do so, each model puts in legitimate work, going through weeks of intense preparation that does not end until they set foot on the runway.

Technically, Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show models aren’t required to do anything specific while preparing for the show, but the models have developed some unofficial rules over the years that they continue to live by.

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Victoria’s Secret models and Angels are at the forefront of the brand. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

To be hired, models must prove that they have both a strong work ethic and charming personality

In a 2015 interview with Forbes, Ed Razek, the Chief Marketing Officer of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands, said that the most successful models and Angels are the ones who do the work, prepare and don’t take it for granted.” More specifically, he said that models should prioritise their careers over partying, and recounted his response to a model who was disappointed when she wasn’t cast in the show.

“Every night I see a picture of you [the unnamed model] on Instagram from a club, night after night, and every night [while] you were doing that, Adriana Lima was jumping rope for 3 hours,” Razek said.

Myrthe Bolt Victoria's Secret
Myrthe Bolt walked in the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

And though it’s a common misconception that Victoria’s Secret models are cast with men in mind, brand executives like Razek actually look for models who will resonate with women.

These are young business people,” Razek told Allure in 2017. “It’s important that women look to the models as people they would like to be friends with, have lunch with, hang out with.”

Once they have been cast, models and Angels spend weeks in the gym preparing for the show

Victoria’s Secret models don’t take their workouts lightly. Angels have been known to work out as much as two times a day in the weeks leading up to the show, and usuallyenlist personal trainers to help them achieve their fitness goals. Some models even opt for ballet classes to tone their figures.

Read more:

The impossible standards you need to meet to become a Victoria’s Secret Angel

Adriana Lima
Adriana Lima has often spoken about her intense workout routine. Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

The intense workouts don’t stop once the show is over.

In an interview with INSIDER, Victoria’s Secret Angel Adriana Lima talked about her workout routine. According to the model, she attributes her successful 20-year history with the brand to keeping up with her fitness regime all year long.

“I’m always ready,” Lima told INSIDER. “That’s why I’ve been in the business for over 20 years.”

Hours before stepping onstage, models have to be prepped with tons of makeup

Gisele Bundchen Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
The backstage area of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show appears to be hectic. Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Last year, Cosmopolitan reported that 32 makeup artists, 27 hairstylists, and 11 manicurists were needed to prepare the 55 models who walked down the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show runway.

It’s not just glamorous face makeup that’s applied. Hair extensions are used, spray tan appointments are booked days before the show, and body makeup is applied where you’d least expect it.

“It’s all about creating the illusion of this amazing body on the runway,” model Selita Ebanks told the New York Daily News in 2009. “People don’t realise that there are about 20 layers of makeup on my butt alone.”

Selita Ebanks
Selita Ebanks walked the runway during the 2006 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Mark Mainz/Getty Images

Models and Angels are dressed by a team of people

The models and Angels who walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show cannot be shy. Not only do they walk in a fashion show that is annually viewed by millions, but they also must get into their show lingerie surrounded by a team of dressers.

Bella Hadid Victoria's Secret
A team was needed to help Bella Hadid adjust her feather accessory. Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Speaking to Vogue about how the show has changed in the era of the #MeToo movement, Razek described the “naked room” where the models and Angels get ready for the runway.

“There is no one allowed in that room except their dressers,” Razek said. “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 jewellery, their wings, and everything else.”

To continue working with the brand, models have to prove that they’re good at selling Victoria’s Secret products

Adriana Lima
Victoria’s Secret models and Angels often visit stores to promote products. Anthony Harvey/Getty Images

Ultimately, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is intended to sell the company’s lingerie. In a 2013 interview with Women’s Wear Daily, DNA Model Management agent Richard Habberley – who represented multiple Victoria’s Secret models and Angels throughout his career – said that brand executives can tell which models sell the most lingerie, therefore helping promote them to Angel status.

Read more:
There’s a huge difference between a Victoria’s Secret model and an Angel – here’s what it takes to get Angel status

“The merchants drive the decisions on the Angels,” Habberley said. “They [Victoria’s Secret] try the girls out, and certain girls sell product. They’re women that appeal to other women.”

Currently, Victoria’s Secret is selling two lingerie collections inspired by the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. While it doesn’t list which models wore which pieces, there are photos from the show embedded throughout the brand’s website.

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The ‘Scalloped Lace Bustier’ (right) looks nearly identical to the one worn by Jasmine Tookes (left). Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images/Victoria’s Secret

In a recent interview with Vogue, Razek said that the retailer has no plans to update its lingerie sizing or diversify the body types shown in its advertisements.

“The brand has a specific image, has a point of view. It has a history,” Razek said. He continued to say that Victoria’s Secret markets “to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.” After receiving backlash, the brand has since apologised for multiple comments made by Razek during the interview.

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show will air December 2 at 10 p.m. ET on ABC. Find out more about how to watch the show here.

A representative for Victoria’s Secret did not immediately respond to INSIDER’s request for comment.


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