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Victoria's Secret abandons its scantily dressed Angels, saying they're no longer 'culturally relevant.' Activists and entrepreneurs will be the new faces of the brand, it says. Victoria's Secret has been working to overhaul its brand image after years of criticism.

By Mary Hanbury Edited by Emily Rella

This story originally appeared on Business Insider

NurPhoto | Getty Images

Victoria's Secret is abandoning its Angels.

The lingerie giant said on Wednesday that it was partnering with a group of inspirational women including activists and entrepreneurs to promote a new brand image and shape its turnaround.

These women, who include the Indian actor and entrepreneur Priyanka Chopra Jonas and the pro soccer player and gender-equality activist Megan Rapinoe, will become the face and voice of the brand, Victoria's Secret said.

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Victoria's Secret's Angels have been synonymous with the brand since the late 1990s. These women, who have included some of the world's most famous models over the years — Gisele Bündchen, Tyra Banks, and Heidi Klum, to name a few — were the face of Victoria's Secret through its marketing campaigns and annual runway shows.

In an interview with The New York Times published on Wednesday, Victoria's Secret CEO Martin Waters said the Angels were not "culturally relevant."

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, Victoria's Secret's runway show had a powerful role in defining "sexy." More recently, it has been criticized as outdated.

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Ed Razek, a longtime marketing chief at Victoria's Secret's parent company, L Brands, was the brains behind the fashion show. Razek was considered one of the most influential people in modeling in the early 2000s, helping launch the careers of famous models.

He stepped down in August 2019. The fashion show was canceled that November, a year after he'd made controversial comments about featuring transgender and plus-size models.

Waters told The Times that the brand's overhaul was long overdue.

"In the old days, the Victoria brand had a single lens, which was called 'sexy,'" he said.

He added: "I've known that we needed to change this brand for a long time, we just haven't had the control of the company to be able to do it."

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Mary Hanbury

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Mary is an editorial intern at Business Insider

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