Former Victoria’s Secret model Bridget Malcolm has criticized the retailer’s recent brand makeover in a scathing video, in which she uses one of their bras to demonstrate how underweight she was allegedly pressured to become to walk in one of its annual fashion shows.
The 29-year-old made her comments on TikTok on Sunday, June 27, more than a week after the lingerie and apparel group ended its “Angels” brand, represented by its top models such as Adriana Lima, Behati Prinsloo and Candice Swanepoel, and announced a new roster of women as the public faces of the group, including soccer star Megan Rapinoe, actress Priyanka Chopra and plus-size model Paloma Elsesser.
“Victoria’s Secret,” Malcolm said, “your performative ally ship is a joke.”
In her video, captioned, “too little too late Victoria’s Secret,” the model demonstrated how underweight she was when she took part in the 2016 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, her second and final overall. In the clip, she tries on a size 30A lace white Victoria’s Secret bra that she wore at the event.
“I am now a size 34B,” said the 5-foot-11-inch model, “which is healthy for me.”
She continued, “I was rejected from the show in 2017 by Ed Razek. He said ‘my body did not look good enough.'”
Razek served as marketing chief of Victoria’s Secret’s parent company L Brands from 1983 until his retirement in 2019. He could not be reached for comment.
Malcolm continued, “I wore a size 30B at that point. Look how big it was on me. The sadness behind my eyes from the 2016 show breaks my heart.”
A Victoria’s Secret rep told E! News, in response to Malcom’s video, “There is a new leadership team at Victoria’s Secret who is fully committed to the continued transformation of the brand with a focus on creating an inclusive environment for our associates, customers and partners to celebrate, uplift and champion all women.”
Victoria’s Secret’s recent brand makeover comes amid years of growing criticism of the retailer and changing attitudes about beauty standards and representation of women. In 2019, Razek left L Brands and the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled.
In 2020, Victoria’s Secret came under criticism again after The New York Times published an article about allegations of misogyny, bullying and harassment within the group. Razek told the newspaper the accusations described in the report were “categorically untrue, misconstrued or taken out of context.”
But a rep for L Brands did not dispute the reporting. They told The New York Times that the company “is intensely focused” on corporate governance, workplace and compliance practices and that it had “made significant strides.” The rep added, “We regret any instance where we did not achieve this objective and are fully committed to continuous improvement and complete accountability.”
Malcolm’s video is one of several she has posted in recent weeks in which she criticizes the fashion industry. In a TikTok clip shared on Tuesday, June 29, the model responded to fans’ questions about why she did not speak out sooner. She detailed her mental health struggles following past traumas—including being “sexually assaulted multiple times”—and experiencing pressure to meet modeling beauty standards.
She said she had been “told to do cocaine to lose weight” by people involved in her career. Bridget also said, “I’ve been told whilst I was underage to just have lots of sex to lose weight.”
“I was struggling with my gender identity,” she continued. “I’d developed anorexia and orthorexia and anxiety and depression. I couldn’t socialize without drinking and was developing quite the reliance on Xanax and Ambien in order to get me through the night. And that was before I turned 18.”
Malcolm said that on her 26th birthday, she suffered a “nervous breakdown,” adding, “I couldn’t leave my house for a year without panic attacks and severe anxiety. I also had a bout with suicidal ideations, which was terrifying. That was four years ago.”
“Today,” she said, “I am two-plus years sober. I’m four years in recovery from an eating disorder. I’m happy. I’m balanced and I’m strong and I feel the best I’ve ever felt. The reality is, I couldn’t talk about my experiences before I reached this point because I would have intense PTSD flashbacks, I would have panic attacks and I wouldn’t be OK. But I am OK now and that’s why I’m speaking out.”
The model continued, “The only reason why I am doing this is because I am a strong believer that the fashion industry needs to change. I am one of the lucky models. I was able to make a long career out of the fashion industry. My job should not include abuse and that is why I’m speaking out now.”
—Reporting by Beth Sobol