In an interview with i-D, model Leyna Bloom talked about her quest to become the first trans model of color on the Victoria’s Secret runway.

Bloom tweeted out last week, “Trying to be the first trans model of color to walk a #victoriassecret fashion show,” following it up with the hashtag “TransIsBeautiful.” And this isn’t the first time the model, who’s opened shows for Chromat and was the first trans model to post for Vogue India, has interacted with the brand.

In November 2017, Victoria’s Secret had what was widely considered to be their most diverse show yet. But Bloom called them out, saying on Twitter, “All these women of color in the VS fashion show that’s amazing right. But they still have way more white girls.” The brand may have sizing that goes up to size 40DDD and X, but its brand image still mostly promotes stereotypical thin, white attractiveness.

Bloom talked to i-D about the reason she tweeted yesterday. She remembered a photographer coming up to her four years ago and saying, “You’re going to be the first trans model to walk a Victoria’s Secret show.” After not seeing that come to fruition yet, Bloom said that it’s up to her to make it happen now.

“The bigger brands have the bigger punch, and they set the trends,” she explained. “They set the trend of what’s going on in the world. We need to be more inclusive not just in fashion but in everyday society. I’m thinking about all the brands outside the fashion world that are going to say, ‘Wow, Victoria’s Secret is giving this person the opportunity, let me hire this girl to run my business. Let me hire a trans girl to be a principal at my school, let me hire a trans girl to be a manager at the post office.’ We need trans people in public spaces and I think Victoria’s Secret can lead that fight.”

 

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