“The first thing you put on in the morning is your lingerie, and you have to look at yourself and tell yourself that you’re beautiful, and that’s really hard to do when even a simple catalog can’t confirm that you’re wearing something appropriately or look good enough,” Dove, 26, tells PEOPLE.
So the model – who says she is regularly told she is not feminine enough – did a photo shoot wearing Victoria’s Secret lingerie to prove that everyone is beautiful, even if society seems to tell them differently. Dove juxtaposed her photos with edited images featuring actual Victoria’s Secret models to show that sexiness is subjective.
“I decided I’m not going to wait for the big moment when Victoria’s Secret would say this is acceptable,” she says. “I figured I would just do a photo shoot, and show people that I’m not afraid to do this, and they shouldn’t be either. They shouldn’t be ashamed of their bodies.”
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Dove hopes the brand will continue to diversify the type of women they feature in their advertisements and their annual fashion show.
“Victoria’s Secret should highlight real women that actually purchase their clothing,” she says. “I would love for them to start featuring more real bodies and diverse women. Victoria’s Secret has the ability to tell people, ‘It’s okay,’ when they wake up in the morning. They have the ability to change lives.”
And if Victoria’s Secret sees the photos and wants to give her her own set of angel wings, she would gladly accept them.
“I’ve always wanted to be a Victoria’s Secret angel,” she says. “I think it would be great, but I wouldn’t want to do that unless Victoria’s Secret was able to embrace me as a whole person – my lifestyle, my sexuality, and the ability to wear lingerie, while also wearing a suit.”