Just one day after Victoria's Secret clipped its Angels' wings and unveiled its rebranding featuring Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe and more empowering women, the OG runway model took to Instagram to weigh in on her own experience.
"First is hard. First is lonely. But first is necessary," she wrote on Instagram. "First is crucial so that a door can be opened for others to fit through. Within a 10-year span starting in 1995, I was the first Black @VictoriasSecret contract model ever. The first Black Victoria's Secret Cover model. The first Black VS model to do so many other groundbreaking things with the brand—as well as other brands. But after a first, must come a flow of more. A flow of different. A flow of unique. A flow so strong, a flow of so many that we LOSE COUNT."
Alongside her caption, Banks shared a picture from her final runway show in 2005. "I retired from the runway 16 years ago," she continued, "and I'm proud that in my lifetime, I'm witnessing a beauty revolution."
One that she will applaud and cheer on from the sidelines. On June 16, the company announced it would be launching two initiatives, the VS Collective and the Victoria's Secret Global Fund for Women's Cancers. New faces of the brand also include Eileen Gu, Adut Akech, Amanda de Cadenet, Palmoa Elsesser and Valentina Sampaio, VS' first transgender model.
"To the new collective of badass ROLE models, I may have cracked that door open, but y'all are charging through," Banks added. "Keep on keepin' on until we all LOSE COUNT of how many are breaking through behind you. #LetsLoseCount."
Dropping the Angel title for good, the brand, according to a press release, now plans to "create new associate programs, revolutionary product collections, compelling and inspiring content, and rally support for causes vital to women."
As for the Global Fund for Women's Cancers, the movement will work to "fund innovative research projects aimed at progressing treatments and cures for women's cancers," explained the brand, "and investing in the next generation of women scientists who represent the diverse population they serve."
The changes comes following two years of scandal that have plagued the brand, which canceled its annual runway show in 2019. As Rapinoe aptly explained to The New York Times, VS' approach was "patriarchal, sexist, viewing not just what it meant to be sexy but what the clothes were trying to accomplish through a male lens and through what men desired."
Now, Victoria's Secret is ready for its next chapter. "At Victoria's Secret, we are on an incredible journey to become the world's leading advocate for women," CEO Martin Waters said in the press release. "This is a dramatic shift for our brand, and it's a shift that we embrace from our core. These new initiatives are just the beginning. We are energized and humbled by the work ahead of us."