How could you not love the early 2000s Victoria’s Secret Angels? It was the golden age for VS Angels.
Victoria’s Secret is obviously a huge brand that you’ll see in pretty much every mall in America. And one thing that they’re known for is their Victoria’s Secret Angels, a.k.a. the gorgeous supermodels who are the face of the brand and wear the angel wings when they walk the runway in the televised Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
That said, there notably hasn’t been a Victoria’s Secret fashion show since 2018. The decision to cancel the show came as a “rebranding” move for the company after chief marketing officer Ed Raek came under fire for his controversial comments about why they don’t cast transgender models in the show. This, coupled with the increasing critiques of the brand’s lack of inclusive body image and the falling ratings for the fashion show led to the redirection.
Unlike the brand’s critics, I happen to like the VS Angels. Seeing beautiful models in magazines isn’t body shaming. The average woman may not look like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but it doesn’t mean we can’t appreciate the beauty of these amazing women — and at the same time continue to respect ourselves and our own bodies.
So let’s talk about some of these Angels from the thriving era of Victoria’s Secret!
This beauty is one of the most famous supermodels of all time. And Gisele Bündchen was really the first model to successfully do both runway and commercial work. When she took on the Victoria’s Secret contract, it was actually a tough decision because her agent told her it might mean she would never walk a runway again. Luckily for her, she was just that good. And working with VS would only further her success, not hinder it.
The Brazilian model is now well known not only for her modeling success, but also for her marriage to Tom Brady. I seriously love their relationship and admire her as a wife and a mother. The two lovebirds have now been married for 12 years!
She’s also a big advocate for the environment, especially the rainforests (her home country Brazil has a large chunk of the Amazon Rainforest). And alongside this, she’s big on yoga and meditation, as well as encouraging others to try them for the mental health benefits she’s experienced, especially after dealing with the anxiety she talks about in her book Lessons: My Path to a Meaningful Life. It’s wonderful to see someone so passionate about making a difference in the world. And trust me, this lovely lady goes beyond posting an Instagram graphic on her story. Super admirable!
Her and Brady’s commitment to living a healthy lifestyle is super inspiring. Their diet is mainly plant based and focused on foods that nourish their bodies. We each only get one!
Adriana Lima is THE Victoria’s Secret Angel. She became an Angel in 2000, and only retired when she turned 37. She walked in an astonishing 19 Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. This mama once even walked the runway only 2 months after giving birth. You go, girl!
She’s another Brazilian model and mother. She split from her husband Marko Jarić back in 2016, but still remains a very loving mother to her two daughters Valentina and Sienna.
Lima is Catholic and was very open about wanting to save herself for marriage. While being interviewed by GQ back in 2006, the interviewer asked her the pointed question a few times, seemingly criticizing her answer saying, “Are you sure about this?”. Lima stood by her position, saying that the men she dates “have to respect this is [her] choice. If there’s no respect it means they don’t want [her].” You go, girl! We should never feel ashamed for choosing to have standards. And it’s also not something that should be sensationalized as this weird choice to be avoided. “Adriana Lima: Our Favorite… Virgin?” seriously GQ?
A healthy lifestyle is huge for Lima. One of her favorite workouts is boxing. There’s a really great workout video you can follow from her and her trainer Michael Olajide, Jr. who is actually a boxing champion himself.
Alessandra also happens to be Brazilian! Brazilian models have really had quite the legacy at VS, and Alessandra is no exception. She’s also had one of the longest careers as an Angel next to Adriana.
Outside of modeling, Alessandra has become something of an entrepreneur. She founded her own swimwear company called Gal Floripa. And as a tribute to her Brazilian heritage, all of the swimwear is made there.
When she’s not working, Alessandra is busy with her two kids, Anja and Noah. She’s a devoted mother like the other ladies. It’s so neat to see so many models who are also moms!
How does she stay in such great shape? She eats healthily and continues to workout regularly. The VS Angels are great women to look to if you need some fitness inspiration.
Another very famous VS Angel is Tyra Banks. Outside of her very successful modeling career, she’s also known for her work with America’s Next Top Model and appearances on America’s Got Talent.
When Tyra isn’t working, she’s busy being a mom to her son York. And as for how the California-born beauty stays in shape, well, when it comes to diets Tyra says they’re a “bunch of bologna” and describes the way she sees fitness as a “lifestyle change” and all about being in good shape, not about being skinny. Fad diets are the worst! We should all strive to have a healthy lifestyle that’s sustainable and not hyperfocused on our body image.
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley might be the most glam of all the early VS Angels, and it's no surprise why. Descended from a British noble family, she started working as a model at only 16. Her first big contract was with Victoria's Secret, but she used her status as an Angel to propel her career forward, not just in modeling.
Rosie went on to star as Megan Fox's replacement in the third Transformers film. She also had a pretty iconic role as The Splendid Angharad, a pregnant wife of Immortan Joe in Mad Max: Fury Road.
She makes quite the pair with her fiancé, Fast and Furious alum Jason Statham. The two have been together for over a decade and share a son, Jack.
Heidi is a German-American model, who, like Tyra, knows a thing or two about being on America’s Got Talent. She was actually a judge! Along with the other ladies on this list, Heidi is one of the most recognizable VS Angels of all time.
When I think of Heidi, I think of her very out-there outfits that you’ll often see her in on TV and the bright personality she has to go along with it. And as for her personal life, she married German musician Tom Kaulitz back in 2019. Her 16-year-old daughter Leni is also beginning her career as a model. Mother and daughter appeared together on the cover of Vogue Germany in January 2021.
While she was a late addition to the group, Candice Swanepoel still encapsulates the classic VS angels vibe. Originally from South Africa, she now embodies the perfect beachy, sun-kissed vibes we've come to expect more from California girls.
After becoming a VS Angel, she went on to found her own swimwear line, Tropic of C. She also has two sons with her ex-fiance Hermann Nicoli, a Brazilian model. The two split in 2018 but Candice and her sons still visit Brazil regularly.
Some of the most well known Angels are from the early 2000s, and it’s easy to see why. That said, I still love so many of the Angels who came a little later like Lily Aldrige, Doutzen Kroes, Karlie Kloss, and Behati Prinsloo. As for today’s Angels, I’m obsessed with Romee Strijd, Grace Elizabeth, and Barbara Palvin. And who knows, maybe they’ll decide to bring back the fashion show after all?
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