There’s a lot you’ll recognize on this year’s Victoria’s Secret fashion show runway — over-the-top wings! the Fantasy Bra! Lots and lots of exposed skin! — and a few things that may look a little different to you. And we’re not just talking about the runway rookies. This year, the models were encouraged to embrace their natural hair texture and current length, and it’s a (sparkly high heel-clad) step we’re loving for the brand.
Last year, model Maria Borges made headlines for being only the second VS model to walk in the show with her short, natural hair (Ajuma Nasenyana walked with a shaved head in 2006). She’d spent two years rocking the long, wavy strands Victoria’s Secret is known for, but after Riccardo Tisci suggested she chop it all off for a Givenchy show, she didn’t want to go back — and Victoria’s Secret agreed. “It took me by surprise, honestly,” she told PeopleStyle of the brand’s okay. “Victoria’s Secret always used girls with their long hair always on point, but I was super lucky to walk for them with my natural hair. It made a statement that you don’t need wigs and a lot of makeup to be sexy, you have to be sexy being comfortable with who you are. It’s an inside job.”
People were so psyched to see a model embracing her “little afro” that Victoria’s Secret caught the wave, and this year, according to stylist and Beachwaver creator Sarah Potempa, the backstage edict was that all models should wear their hair in a less uniform way. “It’s about the whole idea of embracing everyone’s natural beauty,” she told PeopleStyle. And the models got that memo and ran with it. Borges was joined by models Jourdana Phillips and Herieth Paul in embracing their short, natural curls, and Paul captured the moment on Instagram, writing: “Our singing group is called the #buzzcutAngels #vsfashionshow #vsfs2016 #melanin.”
Other models eschewed the typical long, loose waves, opting to wear their hair as they normally do, including Alana Arrington and Dilone, who kept their hair short.
Kendall Jenner recently gushed to InStyle that the show has allowed the models to approach their individual beauty and celebrate it.
“The cool things about this show is that they wanted everyone to feel really good and they didn’t mind the girls looking more different than each other than they did in previous years,” she said. “They didn’t want everyone to look exactly the same. It’s cool, it adds a new twist to it.”
And while the models all do have plenty in common (tall, gorgeous, ridiculous bodies, ability to wear white jeans like no other), we’ll celebrate any step towards more diversity on the runway. “Being yourself is the right thing to do,” Borges said, adding, “Like they say: It takes one person to change fashion trends.”
Are you loving the models’ natural hair?