The longtime runway model told PEOPLE that watching the show with her fellow Victoria's Secret Angels was a holiday tradition

By Greta Bjornson
December 10, 2019 04:18 PM

One of Victoria’s Secret‘s most recognizable faces is opening up about the cancellation of the brand’s iconic fashion show.

For Alessandra Ambrosio, a model with the lingerie giant for 14 years, the end of the show meant she lost a festive holiday tradition and a way to enjoy the season with her fellow Victoria’s Secret Angels.

Alessandra Ambrosio at Madame Tussauds New York
Credit: Mattheau O'Brien for Madame Tussauds New York

“We had such a good time,” Ambrosio, 38, told PEOPLE at the unveiling of her new Madame Tussauds wax figure in New York City on Dec. 5.

“For us, it was like the beginning of Christmas,” she adds. “Because just before Christmas, there was the Victoria’s Secret show.”

Model Alessandra Ambrosio walks the runway during the 2011 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show
Credit: Getty

The brand announced they’d be cancelling the 2019 fashion show on Nov. 21, which was first reported by Women’s Wear Daily.

Stuart B. Burgdoerfer, chief financial officer and executive vice president of L Brands (the parent company of Victoria’s Secret) announced the news during a conference call in November that they are “figuring out how to advance the positioning of the brand and best communicate that to customers.”

The show, which began in 1995 and first aired on television in 2001, had come under fire in the past few years for lack of body diversity on the runway, and according to CNBC, the 2018 fashion show had the worst ratings in the history of the show’s broadcast.

For Ambrosio, the women she shared the runway with for years were like her family.

“That’s what I miss the most, working with them” she says.

Because they were so close, Ambrosio and her coworkers would reunite to watch the annual show together each year.

“When the show aired on TV, I used to gather all my friends and have a pajama party,” she continues. “It was always fun and very Christmas-y, so I’ll miss that, for sure.”

The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

In the absence of the show this holiday season, Ambrosio is planning on a holiday filled with family time. She brought her 7-year-old son, Noah Phoenix, to her wax figure launch and shared their festive plans for their time in New York.

“He wanted to see the snow, but we just missed it,” she joked. “But we’ll get to do all of the fun things that New York has. For Christmas we go to Rockefeller Center and go ice skating, pass by FAO Schwarz and go to Central Park.”

When it comes to staying fit during the holidays, the model admits that “before, it was easy because I had to work out for the show.”

But now, she’s planning on plenty of outdoor workouts back home in L.A. to stay in shape.

“I just got a new big dog and she requires a lot of walks, so I take her on big hikes in L.A. and that keeps me fit,” she shares. “For New Year’s, I get to go to Brazil and so that helps too — a lot of swimming, being in the water and being on the beach.”

With a new year around the corner, Ambrosio is looking forward to working on projects she’s taken up outside of the modeling world, like her swim brand, GAL Floripa, and her work protecting the planet’s oceans.

But ultimately, being with her loved ones is Ambrosio’s priority in 2020.

“Always for me, number one is to spend quality time with my family,” she says.