If there's anyone who can define what the future of fashion should look like, it's Paloma Elsesser.
The supermodel has made a name for herself as one of the most in-demand faces in fashion while simultaneously dismantling the outdated beauty standards the industry has upheld for far too long. Her dedication to authenticity and self-love made her a perfect fit to be a founding member of the VS Collective, for which Elsesser stars alongside actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas, soccer star Megan Rapinoe, and more as ambassadors for the "new" Victoria's Secret.
Gone are the days of the VS Angels who—regardless of early-aughts nostalgia—upheld unattainable standards of "sexiness." Now, according to the model herself, sexiness is about loving and embracing what makes us different, and creating a community around that very ethos.
Below, we speak with Elsesser about what sexiness means to her, how it feels fronting Victoria Secret's new Bare Infinity Flex Bra campaign, and where the lingerie industry goes from here.
What are some of your earliest memories of Victoria’s Secret? How does it feel to now be a figure helping usher in this new era for the brand?
I remember, when I was growing up, I idolized the models and desperately wanted to feel a connection to them and the product. I remember saving up money and buying a chartreuse (my first) thong and feeling like I had successfully arrived at womanhood. Now, with Victoria’s Secret, I’m excited to reframe what that arrival even is and looks like. The privilege of imparting my ever-evolving knowledge around identity, self, and how to ultimately serve others is so gratifying. I started modeling to help make changes in the fashion industry, so working with a brand that has a platform like Victoria’s Secret does, and being able to be part of this new era with them that aims to uplift and celebrate all women is so exciting.
How did it feel to shoot the Victoria’s Secret Bare Infinity Flex Bra campaign?
I loved the direction of this campaign and how it turned out. It felt and looks natural, and very stripped back. The focus is the bra and how it moves and fits with all our bodies. It’s incredibly comfortable, and I like how it keeps its shape without an underwire. I had it on the whole day and didn’t feel like flinging it off when we wrapped!
How would you personally describe the mantra behind the new VS Collective?
I would describe the VS Collective as a community of women that are working to transform and guide the future of the company, as well as inspire and champion all women. The way that we’re working with the brand is tailored to each of us, but together, the goal is to create positive changes not just for the brand, but for all women. It’s something bigger than Victoria’s Secret—we want to be fierce advocates for everyone’s journey and support them along the way.
What does sexiness mean to you? And how does the new Victoria’s Secret reflect that?
To me, sexiness is authenticity, creating community, being kind to yourself no matter how you look. I think the new direction of Victoria’s Secret does reflect that. There’s more focus on women from a total view, not just beauty, and Victoria’s Secret is creating products and campaigns that support that narrative.
How do you want to see the lingerie industry continue to evolve in the coming years?
I want to see the lingerie industry incorporate a diverse spectrum of bodies and experiences. I want there to be a reclamation of what looks “good” in lingerie or how one is meant to look. I most passionately want to see size extension.
Bianca Betancourt is the culture editor at HarpersBAZAAR.com, where she covers all things film, TV, music, and more. When she's not writing, she loves impulsively baking a batch of cookies, re-listening to the same early-2000s pop playlist, and stalking Mariah Carey's Twitter feed.