A brand new podcast about Victoria’s Secret guarantees to carry the lid on the model’s troubling underbelly.
“Fallen Angel” investigates the “very sinister ecosystem” of the lingerie big and its disturbing connection to Jeffrey Epstein, who was the cash guru of the corporate’s founder, Les Wexner.
“I believe … Les Wexner and Jeffrey Epstein’s relationship was deep,” Vanessa Grigoriadis, a journalist and the podcast’s co-host, advised The Submit. “And there are lots of individuals who imagine that the majority of Epstein’s cash — the cash that Epstein used to purchase all these extraordinary properties and create a picture for himself that attracted all these rich males to his facet, and in addition abuse all of those girls and women — almost definitely got here from Les Wexner.”
The 2 males have been so shut that they shared possession of a sprawling $77 million Higher East Facet townhouse. The deed was transferred in 2011 to Epstein’s Virgin Islands-based LLC.
Epstein was accused by Manhattan prosecutors of using his connections to Victoria’s Secret to have unsuspecting women “audition” for him at his abode. These would begin with requests for massages and infrequently finish with sexual abuse.
Epstein died in an obvious suicide whereas in federal custody in 2019. The jet-setting financier, 66, was dealing with as much as 45 years in jail on fees of sex-trafficking dozens of teenage women. Wexner later mentioned he had been “taken benefit of” and admitted to being “embarrassed” by his ties to Epstein.
Grigoriadis and co-host Justine Harman, the previous options director at Glamour journal, notice that the late disgraced cash supervisor even owned a house on Wexner’s huge Ohio property.
“Being seen as one of many folks with whom Les Wexner had confidence gave you a unprecedented quantity of energy there,” Harman mentioned.
And it seems that Epstein had no concern wielding that energy when it got here to staff of Victoria’s Secret.
On the podcast, a former Victoria’s Secret govt named Cindy (who requested that her final title not be used within the podcast) remembers being seated subsequent to Epstein at a birthday celebration for Wexner’s mom at a company cafeteria house and being invited by Epstein to an unique afterparty at Wexner’s home.
“There was one thing that simply didn’t appear proper about it,” Cindy reveals. “I used to be, if you’ll, the employed assist. And my boss [Wexner] is having an afterparty to which he didn’t invite me? … I don’t even know who this man [Epstein] is, so I declined.”
Cindy remembers one other time Epstein allegedly contacted her on the telephone explaining that he was continuously in Columbus, Ohio — the place the lingerie firm was based mostly — and “may use some feminine companionship.” When Cindy demurred, he “in a short time acquired off the telephone,” she says.
Epstein allegedly tried a 3rd time with Cindy, inviting her to affix him in Aspen for an additional Wexner bash, however she says she declined the provide.
The eight-episode podcast additionally delves into what it takes to be a VS mannequin — Dorothea Barth-Jörgensen remembers having to bike to a casting name throughout Hurricane Sandy and ensuring her spray tan didn’t run — however the present actually focuses on the unhealthy physique picture that the lingerie big apparently promoted, which precipitated lots of the fashions to go down a “path of consuming problems, poor well being, despair, nervousness, and different points,” in accordance with a press launch.
“One Victoria’s Secret Angel, Erin Heatherton, advised us that she was on a substance referred to as phentermine,” mentioned Harman. “She was taking that every day…it helps you lose a pound a day.”
In an upcoming episode of the podcast, Heatherton says that across the age of 25 she realized her physique had modified and “I used to be just a bit bit greater.”
“That pushed me over the sting somewhat bit. It positively led me down this path the place I went to see this nutritionist who began me on this weight-reduction plan tablet referred to as phentermine, which my therapist later referred to as ‘bathwater meth,’” says Heatherton. “I don’t know. I used to be similar to, ‘Let me Lance Armstrong this as a result of I’m renovating my rental. I can’t lose my job proper now.’ I began injecting myself with HCG [human chorionic gonadotropin, sometimes used in conjunction with phentermine].”
Phentermine is an amphetamine-like prescription remedy used to suppress urge for food that carries with it a bunch of unwanted effects together with elevated coronary heart price.
“We’re speaking about an already lean mannequin losing a few pounds,” Harman mentioned. “They could lose the muscle, which can make a viewer at residence suppose, ‘Oh, she doesn’t look that wholesome.’ However when these girls have these chiseled abdomens and these sculpted arms, even when they’re so skinny, we inform ourselves she’s an athlete, that’s simply what her physique seems like.”
Certainly, for years, the women’ intense pre-runway health regimens have been highlighted by the model and the media, with the tagline “Practice Like an Angel.”
“And for me, that’s the place probably the most nefarious a part of the entire operation comes into play,” Harman mentioned. “As a result of it teaches younger girls and women that is what girls seem like when even the Angels themselves need to go to those ridiculous measures to ensure that they don’t look frail once they’re ravenous themselves.”
Different fashions have spoken out concerning the model’s unrealistic magnificence requirements, together with Bridget Malcolm. The Australian mannequin has been open on social media about affected by an consuming dysfunction in an effort to obtain “pattern dimension” and claimed that her brokers even inspired her to do cocaine to drop some weight.
This previous summer time, she posted a TikTok video displaying how shockingly tiny the dimensions 30A bra was that she wore within the 2016 runway present. She claimed within the video that the subsequent yr, when she had grown to a 30B, Ed Razek, the previous chief advertising and marketing officer for L Manufacturers, rejected her and mentioned she “didn’t look ok.”
Razek retired from the corporate in 2019 after making a sequence of inflammatory feedback, together with that “transsexual” fashions shouldn’t be forged for the VS runway “as a result of the present is a fantasy.” Rumblings of different alleged misconduct emerged: In 2020, he was accused in a lawsuit of presiding over a “hostile abusive atmosphere rife with sexual harassment,” which additionally named him Wexner’s “proper hand man” who “dominated with impunity.” The go well with was settled in July.
Malcolm additionally spoke to the podcast about her expertise as a VS mannequin and says that, regardless of being “so hungry,” she would work out typically twice a day.
“I used to be reliant on anti-anxiety remedy to get by way of the evening….My physique wasn’t working,” she says within the podcast. “I didn’t really feel current in any respect. I used to be not there.”
“I’m one in every of numerous girls, not simply fashions, however girls throughout the globe who’ve been broken by the story that they put out,” Malcolm claims. “And I do know amongst fashions, it has damage so many people.
“I’ve recognized PTSD, advanced PTSD. I’ve had actually dangerous panic assaults and I’ve had some actually, actually critical psychological well being struggles that weren’t in my life previous to Victoria’s Secret and modeling.”
Mannequin Sharam Diniz says within the podcast that her life dramatically modified when she snagged a coveted VS spot.
“From that second, my life modified. The way in which I’d practice can be totally different. The way in which I’d eat can be totally different,” she says. “The way in which I’d behave with folks throughout jobs can be utterly totally different.”
Earlier this yr the model did a significant overhaul, changing lithe winged fashions with girls of various shapes and sizes in a belated step in the direction of physique positivity. The “inclusive” girls within the new advert marketing campaign embody soccer star Megan Rapinoe, dimension 14 mannequin Paloma Elsesser and actress Priyanka Chopra.
Regardless of the model’s current about-face, Grigoriadis advised The Submit that its problematic journey, and outsized affect alongside the way in which, deserves to be dissected. “I grew up with these things pumping by way of my veins. And it has by no means actually been grappled with in the way in which that we do on this podcast,” she mentioned.
“All of us purchased into this for a extremely very long time and with out correct questioning…40 years of wreaking havoc on girls’s psyches. They usually need to reply to that.”