In the shadow of Trump’s America, the Victoria’s Secret “Fashion Show” has seems like an act of rubbing salt in the wound of inclusivity. It’s an anachronistic take on female sexuality, and no doubt President elect-Trump would have been triple gross if he were allowed backstage.
As we brace ourselves for four years of aggressive white male leadership, culturally, it’s time to rebel. It’s time for women of all backgrounds to stand up, shout out, and be seen, heard, and respected--especially in mainstream pop culture. So instead of only the spider-legged, breast-to-the-chin clones foisted upon us by Victoria’s Secret every year (because of course some of them can stay--this is about representing all kinds of women, even the impossibly proportioned, pouty-lipped ones), why not make the runway a little more intersectional, and a little bit more reflective of modern womanhood? Here’s who Victoria’s Secret should have cast in 2016.
1. . Courtney Act
Australians remember Courtney Act from the first season of Australian Idol, but by now, we all know her as a global drag icon (and runner up on season six of Ru Paul’s Drag Race). The drag alias of Shane Jenek, Courtney is the epitome of Victoria’s Secret Angel chic--plus a little tuck. She’s got the legs, the strut, the Giselle Bundchen jaw and the talent--as well as her own pair of angel wings--and the more I think about it the more I’m boycotting the VS Fashion Show until Courtney is included in the lineup.
2. . Danielle Brooks
A vocal advocate for body positivity, Danielle Brooks embodies plus size beauty. Although we should just call it beauty--it’s high time we stopped putting labels on women who are bigger than a size 4, especially since the average women’s clothing size in America is 12-14. Danielle is gorgeous, smart, independent and sassy, and has an objectively great booty (had to), which I believe is a prerequisite for modeling underwear anyway. She appeared in Lane Bryant’s #ThisBody campaign, and she’s got that radiant VS Angel smile nailed--so what’s the holdup, VS casting?
3. . Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox is all kinds of Queenly-glory. If you’re looking for someone tall and leggy with perfectly ombre hair then Laverne is your gal. A persistent and articulate advocate for LGBTQ and especially trans rights and visibility, Laverne would be an asset in changing the perception of femininity via the VS runway. Wait, did I mention she’s regal, dignified and gorgeous?
4. . Jillian Mercado
Crushing it in Beyonce’s campaign for her “Formation” merchandise, Jillian Mercado slays in the truest sense of slaydom. Already changing attitudes toward modeling as a professional model with muscular dystrophy, seeing her on the VS runway would challenge the perception between ableism and sexuality. Because if we’re going to be real here, Mercado is kind of a sex bomb--with those bedroom eyes and her middle-finger attitude, she’s the kind of model we’d love to see don the iconic angel wings.
5. . Halima Aden
Halima Aden changed everything this week when she appeared on stage competing at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing her hijab and a burkini. In an industry that insists on a stripped-down version of female beauty, Halima reminds us that being beautiful doesn’t necessarily mean being naked. On the VS runway, she might be able to offer a gorgeous alternative to some of the 3.3 million Muslims living in America.
6. . Winnie Harlow
I remember thinking Winnie Harlow was perfect when I first saw her on Cycle 21 of America’s Next Top Model. Winnie has the skin disorder vitiligo, although her success as a model will have you rethinking the word “disorder”. Perfectly smooth, airbrushed skin without any nuance is an anomaly anyway, and Winnie would make a fierce addition to the VS lineup with her jaw-dropping smize.
7. . Ashley Graham
Ashley Graham is a friggin bombshell, and she's also someone who’s strutted down the runway in lingerie literally melting people’s faces off. It's a travesty that she hasn't been cast by Victoria’s Secret yet. A body positivity advocate, Ashley is all kinds of sexy in a way that the VS show would lead you to believe--with the generic bodies marching down their runway--isn’t possible.
[Photos: Getty Images]