The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is getting better, bit by bit, in terms of diversity. The show this past November had more models of color than ever before. But when it comes to plus-size and transgender visibility on that runway, that diversity’s been nonexistent.
Leyna Bloom is ready to change that. On Monday, with encouragement from friend and stylist Farren Fucci, Bloom announced on Twitter that she’s on a mission to become the first out trans model of color to walk that VS Fashion Show runway.
“The women are put on such big platforms and right now with what’s going on in the world, it’s more important than ever,” Bloom said in an interview with Mic. “The last two seasons have become more and more inclusive with women of color, and I think they need to take the next step. We’ve seen high fashion designers include us, but we haven’t seen any mainstream brands really take it to the next level.”
With more than 50,000 likes and over 15,000 retweets, Bloom’s mission is going fully viral.
“I represent so many groups of people and communities around the world,” Bloom said. “Me, I would just be the vessel. I was homeless at one point. I’d be going from sleeping on the train to walking a Victoria’s Secret fashion show. This would be for any dreamer, who wants something so bad and people keep on telling them no, no, no. When I have those wings, we’re all flying together. This is so much bigger than me.”
“When I have those wings, we’re all flying together. This is so much bigger than me.” — Leyna Bloom
Bloom, who was the first out transgender model of color in Vogue India, has noticed this void of trans and plus/curve models at the VS show before. In November, after the 2017 show aired, she called out the company explicitly on Twitter.
“All these women of color in the VS Fashion Show that’s amazing right. But they still have way more white girls,” Bloom wrote on Twitter. “It’s like every time they added a woman of color they added another white girl. Next year they need to cast trans and curve models all colors not just Caucasians.”
Bloom is still adamant about that. “We need curve models,” Bloom said. “We need petite models. We need everyone. We don’t need more Caucasian stick-figure models.”
What she hopes ultimately comes from this campaign is that it opens up the conversation within Victoria’s Secret as to when they will take this next step, and consider these kinds of models.
“I want Victoria’s Secret to even speak on the issue, and make a response to it,” Bloom said. “Is Victoria’s Secret ready to take this leap? Have that conversation and then think, OK, when will you be ready? If I can’t do it, then a year or two years from now I want someone else to be able to do it. They need that next wow factor.”
The fashion show usually tapes in the fall. Castings are months away. There’s still plenty of time for Bloom to get Victoria’s Secret’s attention — and make history.