“Let the whole world see me!”: Sofía Jirau, the first woman with Down syndrome to be a model for Victoria’s Secret

Image of Sofia Jirau

Sofia Jirau, a model with Down syndrome who participated in the launch of the new Victoria’s Secret collection.

“Inside and out, there are no limits.”

With this phrase, the Puerto Rican model SOfía Jirau describes the new achievement of his career: became the first woman with Down syndrome to participate in a campaign for the renowned Victoria’s Secret brand.

Along with 17 other women, she starred in the launch of a collection called Cloud Love Collectionrevealed by the company on February 14.

Your participation is given while Victoria’s Secret undergoes a makeoverafter facing criticism in the past for her lingerie shows and advertisements described as “patriarchal and sexist”.

Sofía, who is 24 years old, has taken advantage of the global attention generated by the launch of the campaign to push a message of inclusion. In the past few days, she has been interviewed by dozens of media around the world.

Image of Sofia Jirau

Image of Sofia Jirau

Let the whole world see me! And let the Down syndrome community know that, like me, they can achieve their dreams,” he said in an interview with BBC Mundo.

Other models such as Hailey Bieber and Valentina Sampaio also participated in the campaign.

Regarding the experience of sharing the campaign with other women, she said she felt “happy, proud, joyful.”

achieve your goals

Since she was a child, Sofia wanted to be a model and businesswoman. The Puerto Rican has achieved both goals.

In 2019, she launched her own clothing and accessory product line known as “Alavett.” The name comes from his way of pronouncing “I Love it”.

“Alavett is my cry of joy to the world,” says Sofía on her brand’s website.

Image of Sofia Jirau

Image of Sofia Jirau

All these results, he says, show that “I am strong.”

“Alavett” gave way to Sofía standing out on the catwalks of her native Puerto Rico. Later in 2020, she made her debut at New York Fashion Week.

In the Big Apple, she modeled for designer Marisa Santiago.

Meanwhile, on the island he has been a spokesperson for campaigns in favor of the community with Down syndrome.

In the future, she added, she wants to show her talent at Europe’s fashion shows.

“My next dream is to go dancing on stage and go modeling in France and Italy,” she said.

“A Brand Revolution”

Victoria’s Secret said in a statement that the new collection was inspired by “the needs of our customers.” The advertising effort, according to the creative director of the company, Raúl Martínez, also follows this purpose.

“It is an important moment in the evolution of the brand,” he explained.

In recent years, the company has tried to rebuild its image.

The emergence of the #MeToo movement by which thousands of women reported situations of sexual harassment and abuse around the world and the changes in the perception of the female body made the lingerie giant reel.

Image of Sofia Jirau

Image of Sofia Jirau

Parades of thin models and their hypersexualized advertisements have been losing supporters and gaining detractors.

Faced with criticism, the drop in audience and a drop in revenue, in 2019 the company canceled its famous “Victoria’s Secret Angels” parade.

In 2020, moreover, New York Times published an investigation in which he described “the culture of misogyny” in the company.

The collection presented this February, according to Martinez, is the “new standard” for Victoria’s Secret.

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“Let the whole world see me!”: Sofía Jirau, the first woman with Down syndrome to be a model for Victoria’s Secret