Victoria’s Secret broached a major milestone this week by hiring Sofía Jirau, the company’s first model with Down’s syndrome.
The 24-year-old Puerto Rican model will be featured in a new campaign for lingerie retailer’s Love Cloud Collection, which will be modeled by “18 women from diverse backgrounds,” according to the company. Prior to being hired by Victoria’s Secret, Jirau had been modeling since she was a child — eventually working her way up as a runway model. She’s even modeled for Marisa Santiago at New York Fashion Week in 2020 and likewise has experience working with various ad campaigns.
After it was official, Jirau took to Instagram to share the news.
“One day I dreamed it, I worked on it and today it is a dream come true. I can finally tell you my big secret… I am the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome!” she wrote. “Thanks to all of you for always supporting me in my projects. Thanks to Victoria’s Secret for seeing me as a #NoLimits model and making me part of the Love Cloud Collection inclusion campaign. This is just the beginning, now it’s formed!”
“I would love to inspire everybody,” Jirau told The Wall Street Journal. “Even if they have Down syndrome, they can still model, they can still have jobs. They have to work hard and everything is possible.”
This is the latest step Victoria’s Secret has taken in recent years to feature a more diverse range of models who are curvier or come from different backgrounds. Just recently, the company has worked with models who are pregnant, paraplegic, plus-size models, and transgender.
“Love Cloud Collection is a major moment in the brand’s evolution,” said Victoria’s Secret head creative director Raúl Martinez, in a statement. “From the cast of incredible women that bring the collection to life, to the incredible inclusive spirit on set, this campaign is an important part of the new Victoria’s Secret standard we are creating.”
In addition to seeing her modeling career take off, Jirau is also a budding entrepreneur. She has her own line of accessories called Alavett, which is a play on “I love it.” She told People that the unique phrase is her “shout of joy,” which can likewise be found throughout her social media posts.