Emira D’Spain makes history as Victoria Secret’s first Black transgender model

In 2021, the lingerie company launched a rebrand after allegations of sexual harassment

Meredith Clark
New York
Wednesday 02 February 2022 18:30 GMT
(TikTok / @xoxoemira)

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Emira D’Spain is making history. The model and TikTok star just became the first Black and transgender model to work with Victoria’s Secret.

Emira, better known on social media as XOXOEMIRA, posted a Valentine’s Day collaboration with the lingerie brand on TikTok, giving tips on how to splurge this holiday as a single girl. “The best love is self love!” she captioned the video.

In the video, the 25-year-old model shows herself getting ready for a day of self-love, wearing a Victoria’s Secrets robe, corset, and some suede Louboutin boots. Throughout the day, Emira grabs a single girl brunch by herself, buys a bouquet of red roses, and treats herself to a pair of diamond earrings. “I don’t need a man to buy me flowers,” she says in the video.

The partnership is a dream come true for D’Spain and she is honoured to be the first Black trans girl to work with Victoria’s Secret, she said in an Instagram post. D’Spain gave credit where credit is due, and thanked fellow model Valentina Sampaio for paving the way. In 2019, Sampaio became the first transgender model to work with Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line.

D’Spain’s Valentine’s Day collaboration with Victoria’s Secret goes hand-in-hand with the message of self-love that she promotes in her social media content. "I want to empower young trans women and men around the world to show them that the beauty and fashion industries are changing, especially if you are a POC,” she said in a statement to USA Today. “I am so grateful to work with Victoria’s Secret and hope this paves the way for those after me."

The New York City model has gained a massive following on TikTok — over 773,000 followers — where she posts beauty tips and daily “Get Ready With Me” videos. Fans were ecstatic for D’Spain and congratulated her on making history. “So proud of you and the little black girl inside of me is screaming for you!!!!!” said user @danibananiie. “Congratulations baby, you deserve everything good and more,” said TikToker @maddietpwk.

Victoria’s Secret recently launched a rebrand of the lingerie company after facing allegations of taking ideas from Black-owned brands and promoting a toxic culture of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation. In a bid to reinvent the brand’s image, Victoria’s Secret ditched its iconic Angels and launched a VS Collective — gathering women such as Megan Rapinoe, Eileen Gu, Paloma Elsesser, and Priyanka Chopra Jonas to redefine beauty standards.

While many people praised Victoria’s Secret stride towards inclusivity, others believed that its rebrand is just an act of performative allyship.

The Independent has reached out to Victoria’s Secret for comment.

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