Darren Barnet Named As Victoria Secret’s First Male Ambassador
Netflix heartthrob brought to help underwear brand pursue diversity.
Barnet, who plays Paxton Hall-Yoshida in the streaming channel’s Never Have I Ever, has been chosen to promote the Gender Free collection of shorts, sweats and shirts from Victoria’s Secret’s Pink label. He will also support the company’s new mental health initiatives directed at young adults. Vctoria’s Secret has come under scrutiny in the past for promoting unrealistic body standards with its trademark ‘Angels’: tall, thin women with wide hips and perky tits. To combat this image the brand replaced the Angels with a ‘VS Collective’ in 2021. The collective includes women of a wider variety of shapes and sizes, including supermodel Priyanka Chopra Jonas, soccer star Megan Rapinoe and skier Eileen Gu.
“As we focus on expanding our gender-free offerings and continue to evolve as a brand”, said Pink CEO Amy Hauk, “we want to ensure our partners not only represent the diversity of our customers, but also embody individuality and self-confidence”. The recruitment of Barnet as the first male face of Victoria’s Secret appears to be aimed at boosting this strategy.
The VS brand is certainly evolving to better represent the diversity of its customers. In February this year Emria D’Spain became the first black transgender model to work with VS, shortly after Sofia Jirau was named as its first model with Down’s Syndrome.
Barnet’s, arguably overdue, ambassadorial role may well prove an important milestone in the developing Victoria’s Secret story.