A Puerto Rican woman has become American lingerie and beauty brand Victoria's Secret's first model with Down syndrome.
Sofia Jirau, 24, announced her milestone on Instagram by posting a photograph from one of the brand’s campaigns.
“One day I dreamed of it, I worked on it and today it is a dream come true,” she wrote in her post. “I can finally tell you my big secret… I am the first Victoria's Secret model with Down syndrome! Thank you all for always supporting me in my projects.”
Jirau thanked Victoria’s Secret for making her a part of its inclusion campaign named Love Cloud Collection. The brand, previously criticised for promoting unrealistic beauty standards, is now trying to embrace diversity.
“This is just the beginning, now it's formed! Inside and out there are no limits,” the model added.
In response, Victoria’s Secret said: “Thank you for being a part of our VS Family.”
Jirau said she dreamt of being a model ever since she was a child, "When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, 'I'm going to be a model and a businesswoman,'" she told People magazine.
Her first major modelling opportunity was walking in the New York Fashion Week in 2020 for designer Marisa Santiago.
The Love Cloud Collection, in which Jirau has featured, is a first-of-its-kind campaign by Victoria’s Secret.
“The collection is modelled by eighteen dynamic women, reinforcing Victoria's Secret's commitment to welcoming and celebrating all women,” the brand said in a statement. “This new collection launch is another milestone in Victoria's Secret's new vision, focused on continuing to support women.”
Raúl Martinez, Victoria’s Secret’s head creative director, described the collection as a “major moment in the brand's evolution”.
“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", Martinez added.
In June 2021, Victoria's Secret had signed seven new female brand representatives in a rebranding effort.
The list of representatives included Indian actor Priyanka Chopra, American soccer star Megan Rapinoe and Brazilian transgender model Valentina Sampaio, among others.