Why Bella Felt Powerless as a Victoria's Secret Angel


| LAST UPDATE 12/05/2021

By Georgina White
Bella Hadid Victoria's Secret
Dia Dipasupil / Staff via Getty Images

Unless you've been living under a rock, chances are that you've heard about Victoria's Secret massive rebrand. From embracing "the true spectrum" of beauty to a fresh group of brand ambassadors, VS is trying to turn a new leaf. But Bella Hadid remembers how it used to be...

victorias secret toxic culture
Instagram via @bellahadid

The 25-year-old model sat down with Marie Claire magazine to spill the tea on her troubled past with the lingerie brand. From 2016 to 2018, Bella was - on the outside - living the dream as one of VS's angels on the annual fashion show runway. But behind the scenes, the young model was suffering from the toxic environment at the brand. "I never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear," Hadid admitted of those years on the VS catwalk. From inappropriate comments from the former president to unhealthy diet culture, Victoria's Secret was a dark spot in Bella's career.

victorias secret rebrand collective
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And it took a lot of unlearning for Bella to get back to a good place when it came to "femininity or sexiness." "I look at my body now as a temple," Hadid explained to Neha Prakash from Marie Claire. "Before, it kind of got to the point where my body wasn't owned by me." Bella was conflicted: she was appearing on one of the most elite runways in the world, but at the same time, she simply wasn't happy. "My life for so many years revolved around only working and...how I was going to lose that weight for one of those shows," Hadid confessed. "Now, I just am who I am. And I don't need to change for anybody else."

bella hadid vs collective
Dimitrios Kambouris / Staff via Getty Images

And thankfully, Victoria's Secret has embraced Bella's kind of thinking. From Hailey Beiber to Priyanka Jonas, the lingerie brand has rounded up a group of body-positive women to push their message forward - and the group has grown by one more: Bella! "It took me almost a year and a half to take the meeting with them," Hadid explained. "But I know firsthand how Victoria's Secret used to make me feel, and now, going onto set every day, there is just an energy that's switched."

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Want to read more on her decision to rejoin Victoria's Secret? You can find Bella's full interview here!