Have you ever wondered what it's like to be at a Victoria's Secret Fashion Show model casting? No, you probably have not, because everyone in the possession of the human faculty of logic can infer with 100 percent certainty that it's terrible, terrifying, and generally the opposite of a good time.
British Vogue's recent interview with Sophia Neophitou-Apostolou, who has served as the show's creative director for the past three years, confirms that the casting is the earthly equivalent of a special ring in hell where they send those who work on "Best and Worst Beach Bodies" spreads. Says Neophitou-Apostolou:
[The models] are provisionally cast by John Pfeiffer but the final decision is made by the whole team, sitting at this long table in a room with really harsh lighting and they have to walk towards us and away from us. They all have to do it — even the contracted girls — and it's incredibly nerve-wracking for them.
Through the most unflattering of hell-fires you must stride, clad just in underwear whilst a panel of demons squawks, "LIQUID DIET!" and "CELLULITE!" and "BEDAZZLED HALLOWEEN-THEMED LACE BOY SHORTS!"
But, oh, don't worry — it's not about being thin, says Neophitou-Apostolou: "It's really like being an Olympian — you have to be in peak condition." Because all Olympians train by eating nothing but high-protein baby food for nine days preceding their event; Olympians also refrain from drinking any water at all starting 12 hours before they compete. You can lose up to 8 pounds that way, as every Olympian knows.
Adds Neophitou-Apostolou, "It's not about being thin or anything like that — it's about being ready to perform and be the best you can be in that moment." It's not about being thin. It's being ready to perform a task to the best of your ability. It just so happens that that task is walking around in lingerie and maybe a funny hat while having absolutely no fat on your body.
The dedication that VS models show in preparing for a show is serious; there's no doubt that they put as much effort into preparing for the runway show as an athlete does to preparing for a major sports event. However, it's completely specious to claim that their pre-show regimen has less to do with thinness than with being in "peak condition" — especially since some of the methodology used by Victoria's Secret models to stay thin is pretty damn unhealthy.
The body type that Victoria's Secret touts in its annual show is so difficult to achieve that even the company's "contracted girls"— some of the most successful supermodels in the world — feel anxious being scrutinized against that ideal. That's insane. And it also clearly has everything to do with "being thin or anything like that."
"Victoria's Secret Model Casting - Sophie Neophitu Interview" [Vogue UK]
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