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17th Feb 2022

Victoria’s Secret’s first model with Down syndrome makes stunning debut: “dream come true”

Laura Grainger

“This is just the beginning.”

A Puerto Rican woman has revealed that she is Victoria’s Secret’s first model with Down’s syndrome in what has been a “dream come true” for her.

Sofia Jirau, 25, has made history in becoming the first model with the condition to star in a campaign for the infamous lingerie brand.

The beauty’s career has been on the up and up since she made her runway debut at New York Fashion Week in February 2020, catching the attention of various brands and industry executives.

She also created her own brand, Alavett, in 2019, and works to raise awareness of Down’s syndrome with her Sin Límites (No Limits) campaign.

Sofia is now featured in the campaign for Victoria’s Secret’s new Love Cloud collection, a line of underwear designed to be more comfortable for everyday wear.

Taking to Instagram to show a stunning shot from the campaign, Sofia wrote: “One day I dreamed of it, I worked on it and today it is a dream come true. I can finally tell you my big secret… I am the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down’s syndrome.

“Thanks to all of you for always supporting me in my projects. Thanks to @victoriassecret for seeing me as a #NoLimits model and making me part of the Love Cloud Collection inclusion campaign. This is just the beginning, now it’s formed!”

The company has been coming out with more inclusive collections and campaigns in recent years in an attempt to rebrand, following reduced sales and store closures.

Its historical marketing of selling a narrow “fantasy” has drawn criticism when compared to more inclusive brands such as Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty, which has featured a diverse selection of models and ambassadors across their runway shows, ads, product directory and social media campaigns since its launch.

Where Victoria’s Secret has previously used, for the most part, thin, able-bodied and cisgender women and few models of colour, Savage x Fenty have championed visible diversity in having a large presence of models of all races, disabilities, sizes and gender identities – with even visibly pregnant models walking its runway.

Facing accusations of fatphobia and other forms of exclusion, Victoria’s Secret has recently implemented a number of moves in an attempt to rebrand as a more inclusive company.

Such moves include hiring a more diverse range of models and ambassadors and releasing a mastectomy bra.