How Victoria's Secret Casts Its Models Is Terrible

November 11th 2015

Diana Crandall

You show up to work, take off your clothes, and walk in sky-high heels across a carpeted floor in front of a room full of scrutinizing eyes. It sounds like a nightmare, but it’s actually a dream come true for hundreds of models every year who are called to audition for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

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Victoria’s Secret released a new behind-the-scenes video meant to give insight into what an audition and evaluation process looks like. Take a look for yourself below.

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Watching the casting video gives insight into a disturbing world of stick-thin standards in a high-stakes industry. It's clear that few models ever get the chance.

Victoria's Secret casting

If they land the gig, it's considered a career kick-start. In fact, 10 out of the 11 highest paid models in the world have worked with Victoria’s Secret at one point or another, Business Insider reports.

But what exactly is it that the models have to go through? The answer is unappetizing, tiring and physically and mentally draining.

Why it's disturbing

Even though the backstage video doesn't show it, Victoria's Secret models sometimes go through major extremes to achieve the "right look." Victoria’s Secret is seen as the pinnacle of success and beauty in both the modeling and the “real” world; the company has served as a cultural cornerstone for years, defining what it means to achieve physical perfection.

But showing up and stripping down is just a tiny ripple in the unhealthy undercurrent that runs through the modeling world, one that onlookers rarely get a glimpse into.

In 2012, Adriana Lima revealed that she went on a liquid-only diet for nine days before the Victoria’s Secret show to “help her shed her baby weight.”

In response to recent pressures, model Gigi Hadid called out people who were body-shaming her.


A photo posted by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

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Unrealistic expectations

To find out what it’s really like to train like an Angel, Poppy Cross, a fitness blogger who was in what she calls "good shape to start with," underwent four months of Angel training earlier this year. She chronicled her “un-heavenly plan” in the Daily Mail, including lifting more than she weighs, exercising six and sometimes seven days a week, and doing two sessions on some days.

The judges and producers evaluating the women in the backstage video admit that these women have worked hard to get where they are, but the video doesn't show any of the liquid dieting or the impossible VS workout routines that all the women have to put themselves through. Because that probably wouldn't be very pretty, from the sounds of it.

“On paper, I did what I set out to do – I achieved the Victoria’s Secret body and I’m proud I managed it,” Cross writes. “But health matters to me more than appearance and I’m happy with the way I look…I’m happy to be back in my old routine – and not having to worry about how I look in my underwear.”

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The 2015 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show premieres on Dec. 8, and features performances from Selena Gomez, Ellie Goulding and The Weeknd, as well as the VS angels modeling various outfits on the runway.