Impossibly long limbs, honeyed skin and taut torsos; Victoria’s Secret models are modern day goddesses. Not too skinny and not too athletic, with soft curves where they ought to be, these flawless models have come to represent the new bodily ideal. The childlike waifs that ruled the nineties, noughties and beyond have been replaced by glossy and classically beautiful women that are more than a little bit desirable, and their bodies are the piéce du résistance.
A Victoria’s Secret Angel is more than a model- they are at the top of their game and have become aspirational for many. It is an honour to be graced with the wings that accompany the delicately seductive lingerie, and it is one experienced by a very select few. Glamourous women like Doutzen Kroes and Miranda Kerr are seasoned walkers at the spectacular Victoria’s Secret shows, and for many years their toned and tanned physiques have been their livelihood.
Though the Angels may not represent the skinny fragility that has been the norm in the fashion industry for many years, their physiques are every bit as unattainable. Even more so, perhaps. While it is relatively easy to avoid biscuits and cakes or to swap a sandwich for a salad, it is less so to incorporate a tailored four-hour workout into the working day. Long and lean, these bodies are the glorious product of personal trainers, strict diets and immense dedication, and have been christened as “designer” bodies.
Surely, though, a body is a body, and it should not be so fiercely controlled. While there is no denying that these models have been rather lucky genetically, they still work tirelessly on their bodies to ensure total, unrivalled perfection. When every inch of their body is under scrutiny, every inch must be without fault. The Angels represent the new wave of supermodels, matching the income and lifestyle that made the eighties supers so iconic. For them the hard work has paid off, and they have come to represent the new female ideal. However, in reality, is it really worth the effort?
Getting a body fit for the multi-million dollar Victoria’s Secret show is a full time job, and undoubtedly leaves little time for a social life. While no man would be complaining to have an Allessandra Ambrosio-esque beauty on his arm, he may grow to detest her true soulmate: the personal trainer. Though the physical results may be dazzling, adopting an Angel’s approach to diet and exercise could become exhausting, a damaging pursuit of impossible perfection.
Essentially the body of a Victoria’s Secret Angel is not natural, and having this image thrust forth as the new feminine ideal is not healthy. It goes without saying that the perception of beauty has evolved over time, and will continue to do so, but the real issue is that the aspirational is becoming increasingly unattainable, and the army of Victoria’s Secret Angels are strutting further and further away from reality.