For 17 years and as many Victoria Secret runways, eminent supermodels Adriana Lima and Alessandra Ambrosio indisputably convinced us that in the big business of smalls, less is always more. But amid Ambrosio announcing 2017 was the end of her VS reign (not Lima, she’s going for the 20!), there’s a couple of identical millennials working their way up the winged-ranks, destined to replace the verteran wunderkinds.
Lima made her VS debut in 2000, while Ambrosio sat on the sidelines as a spokesperson for the underwear giant until her first runway in 2005. It was tradition that there was always one true star of any given VS season; Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Gisele; the list went on. But a strange thing happened in 2014. For the first time, twodiamond encrusted million dollar bras were made by Mouawad for Lima and Ambrosio to wear. Unveiled on Good Morning America, Lima spoke of her excitement of walking with her best friend. “I’m honoured to be here with Alessandra, doing the show, walking together. I cannot wait,” she told GMA. The deft decision served as bombshell proof; a duo of VS proportions will always make a more powerful impact than a single dynamo.
But VS senior creative director, Ed Razek, knew after 16 years, Lima and Ambrosio wouldn’t be lingerie-clad forever. They were, after all, both 35-years-old. It was time to introduce some new blood and castings began for millennials, and this time, a social media followers were taken into consideration. While it can be argued Gigi Hadid could one day be Candice Swanepoel’s replacement and Kendall Jenner was, well, hired with her 53 million + followers in mind, there were two models amongst the castings who stood out as Lima and Ambrosio protégés. They were Sara Sampaio and Taylor Hill.
Portuguese model Sampaio was discovered at 15-years-old. After three auditions she made her debut in one segment in 2013. A year later this was upped to two segments and in 2015 she had earned her wings and a new best friend in Illinois native Hill. The latter always thought she was “ugly” until she was scouted on a horse ranch in 2010. Her parents moved to New York City where the would-be model signed with IMG. After walking for the likes of Givenchy, Chanel and Dolce and Gabbana, she became a bonafide VS model, a significant achievement given it was her first audition.
Take a look at the startling physical resemblances between Lima and Sampaio and Ambrosio and Hill. The millennial walked their fifth show this year. For all baton-passing purposes, Razek did very, very well… Study the below and tell us he wasn’t replacing apples with apples.