A Puerto Rican model has become the first woman with Down syndrome to be featured in a Victoria’s Secret campaign.
Sofía Jirau, 25, is one of 18 women appearing in advertisements for the brand’s new “Love Cloud” collection, released on Valentine’s Day.
“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 syndrome,” Jirau excitedly announced in an Instagram post she shared with her 204,000 followers.
Jirau kickstarted her modeling career in Puerto Rico in 2019. The same year, she launched her own successful online fashion store, Alavett. (Alavett, or “I love it,” is Jirau’s favorite phrase, according to the site.)
In February 2020 — just a month before the COVID-19 outbreak shut down the world — Jirau made her debut at New York Fashion Week.
Her career continued to thrive during the pandemic, as she gained a large social media following. She created her own “No Limits” campaign in a bid to raise awareness about Down syndrome, which eventually caught the eye of Victoria’s Secret execs.
The lingerie brand has come under fire in recent years, facing accusations it is “exclusionary.” Actress Jameela Jamil branded it as a “transphobic, fat-phobic company . . . that sets out to exclude most women.” Soccer star Megan Rapinoe said the brand once had a message that was “patriarchal and sexist.”
The company is seeking a radical rebranding, and recently tapped Anna Wintour’s “right-hand man” Raúl Martinez as its new creative director.
The “Love Cloud” campaign — featuring Jirau — is Martinez’s first major project for Victoria’s Secret.
In a statement, Martinez hailed the “inclusive spirit” on the set of the campaign.
In addition to Jirau, the campaign includes models of diverse backgrounds and all different shapes and sizes. It also features a woman with gray hair and a woman posing on crutches.