Model and TikTok star Emira D’Spain has made history—she is the first Black transgender model to work with Victoria’s Secret.
On February 1, Victoria’s Secret shared via Instagram that the company was “excited to recognize February as a time to acknowledge Black women.”
“Throughout the month, we’ll spotlight associates, business leaders, advocates, and industry trendsetters who motivate us each and every day,” the company wrote as a pledge to celebrate Black History Month.
D’Spain, 25, shared a statement of her own, saying, “Honored to be the first black trans girl working with [Victoria’s Secret]. As a kid, I only DREAMED of being a part of Victoria’s Secret”. She also shouted out Valentina Sampaio for paving the way before her, as she was the first-ever transgender model to work with the lingerie brand in 2019. “It’s such an honor to continue that legacy on the first day of Black history month,” added D’Spain.
Choosing to feature Emira D’Spain as a model is a huge step forward for Victoria’s Secret, who has a fraught history with the trans community. Former chief marketing officer Ed Razek said in a 2018 interview with Vogue that he didn’t think Victoria’s Secret annual fashion show should include “transsexuals” because “the show is a fantasy.” Following the backlash surrounding his comment, Razek apologized and said “we absolutely would cast a transgender model in our show” and “I admire and respect their journey to embrace who they really are.”
D’Spain is happy to see much-needed change regarding representation happening in the industry. “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 model featured her first collaboration with Victoria’s Secret on TikTok, where she has over 775,000 followers. They created a “Single Girl’s Guide to the Perfect Valentine’s Day,” with tips and advice for spending the holiday on your own. D’Spain showed herself getting ready for a day of self-care around New York City. She bought herself flowers and a pair of earrings, took herself out on a date consisting of grilled cheese and a cinnamon bun, and ended the day with a relaxing bath. “Valentine’s Day may be about love, but it also includes loving yourself,” D’Spain said in the video.
D’Spain’s message of self-love is an extension of the positive content she wants to keep posting on social media. “My entire platform is built on confidence and self-love,” D’Spain told USA TODAY.
Born in Dubai, raised in Dallas and now living in New York, D’Spain is best known for sharing “Get Ready With Me” videos on TikTok and sharing insights about her life in the city. She currently works as the beauty director at PAPER Magazine and has previously collaborated with brands such as Nars, Ugg, Fenty Skin, Google and Anastasia Beverly Hills.
We can’t wait to find out more about her collaboration with Victoria’s Secret as well as future projects.
Photo Credit: Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images