Angel status at Victoria’s Secret is what model dreams are made of.
Victoria’s Secret has the power to instantly transform careers and lives, putting Angels on the radar of every major fashion designer and publication. These women become celebrities, cultivating their own personal brands which can be partially measured by the millions of followers they have on social media accounts.
However, getting there is no easy feat — it takes much more than good genes or a famous last name to make the cut.
They work out almost every a day — sometimes, even on set.
As if breaking a sweat once a day isn’t enough, Angels often hit the gym twice a day in the weeks leading up to the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Maintaining a certain look is part of the job, but it doesn’t discount the extremity of it. Plus, Victoria’s Secret Angels are frequently active on set while modeling the brand’s athletic VS Sport clothes.
It’s about being aspirational.
Victoria’s Secret is a business, and like every brand, their goal is to amplify sales. Ed Razek knows how to make this happen: he’s worked with Victoria’s Secret for 20 years, and he’s confident that he has an eye for who should represent the brand and its largely female customer base — sultry, gorgeous women.
“It’s how women respond to them,” Razek told Forbes. “We’re interested in appealing to women because women do 99% of the shopping in Victoria’s Secret.”
So not only do these women have to be gorgeous and wear the brand’s clothes well, but they also need to appeal to the Victoria’s Secret customers who like their personality and style.
“All of these women would be the best looking girl any guy had ever seen — guys are easy,” Razek continued. “Women have to say, ‘I want to look like that, I want to have that spirit or that confidence and strength.'”
Though Razek’s intuition hasn’t failed the brand, Victoria’s Secret has received criticism, notably in the department of body inclusivity. They have not worked with models with diverse body types.
Because Victoria’s Secret is one of the most well-known lingerie brands, they are insanely selective about who they grant Angel status to.
It’s a tough gig to get, and Razek revealed that it often comes down to details beyond physical appearance, like work ethic. When talking to Forbes, he said a particular model’s partying routine was a deal breaker for him, especially when he knew someone like “Adriana Lima was jumping rope for 3 hours.”
To be honest, both sound pretty extreme, but it just goes to show that the ones who are cut out to be Angels don’t take their jobs for granted.
Romee Strijd, another current Angel, really spells out this commitment on her YouTube channel. Her behind-the-scenes vlog reveals her healthy meals (she eats the same overnight oats every morning) and how she prioritizes sleep and fitness to keep her fueled for the physical demands of her career.
Angels have personality and ambition.
Jet lag is real, but at the end of the day, these women have to be on their A-games. Unlike some high-fashion campaigns and shows, Victoria’s Secret is known to amp up the appeal — seriously, what other brand encourages their models to blow a kiss at the end of the runway?
They also meet with fans at product launches, and interact with the media for major events. Let’s just say the serious, expressionless gaze that high fashion models often get pinned for doesn’t seem to cut it for Victoria’s Secret. As representives, they are selling a lifestyle.
Many of the most iconic Victoria’s Secret Angels have gone on to become TV personalities or entrepreneurs — we’re thinking of Tyra Banks with America’s Next Top Model, Heidi Klum in Project Runway, Karlie Kloss creating her own brand called Klossy, and Miranda Kerr launching the beauty brand KORA Organics. In Razek’s words to Allure, “These are young businesspeople.”
Angel standards are high and hard to meet, but apparently not impossible.
Sign up here to get INSIDER’s favorite stories straight to your inbox.