Over the weekend, it was announced that Barbara Palvin is the newest Victoria’s Secret Angel. After walking her first VS show in 2012, she made her triumphant return to the runway last year. She’s the first Hungarian Angel, and makes number 13 in the current lineup of Angels.
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OFFICIALLY A @victoriassecret ANGEL ! I don’t know where to begin but I’ll try : I never thought it would happen and it has exceeded all my expectations. I’m very excited to announce that I’m officially a @victoriassecret ANGEL ! Thank you for believing in me. There were times where I let my own thoughts hold me back and it was a hard climb away from those but my family , my team, Ed, and everyone at VS they were always there to support me and uplift me. I am proud to represent Hungary, and most importantly, all of you in this new chapter of my life! Thank you all so much again ♥️♥️♥️
And this is all very exciting. I’m not here to rain on anybody’s parade, but Barbara is NOT plus-sized. The 5’8″, 55kg model is being touted as the first “bigger” Angel and I’m calling bullshit. While her thighs may touch, and her hips are a bit wider, this is not the massive step forward some are calling it.
2018’s Victoria’s Secret Angels, thigh gaps included.
I mean, yes, Barbara Palvin does have a slightly different body shape than the usual VS Angel. But she’s still tall, thin, and a poster girl for traditional Western beauty standards. And look, bringing on a girl without a thigh gap was probably discussed at length by the selection committee. For a company that has publicly stated that it would never include plus-sized models in their runway show, it’s probably a big deal to them.
However, touting Barbara as some sort of new “bigger model” breaking into the world’s biggest lingerie brand is potentially damaging to women and young girls everywhere. Already, the VS Fashion Show is a parade of genetically blessed women who are paid to stay thinner than most women will ever be in their life. It’s talked about like it’s the pinnacle of the fashion world and the absolute ideal to aim for. And while the shows are impressive and entertaining, they reinforce dangerous ideas about female beauty standards.
Barbara Palvin is beautiful. She does have a slightly different body shape to those of the other Angels. But she is NOT plus-sized, nor is she a champion of body diversity.