Jasmine Tookes was one of three women of color to make Forbes’ highest-paid models list for 2016 (Joan Smalls and Liu Wen were the other two). Yesterday, Victoria’s Secret announced that Tookes would join another bittersweet trio. On December 5, 2016, the model will be the third black woman in Victoria’s Secret history to wear its iconic Fantasy Bra on the runway. She follows in the stiletto-clad footsteps of Tyra Banks (1997) and Selita Ebanks (2007).
Every ten years or so, a model of color is given this honor. While a 9:1 ratio may seem grim to some, Tookes prefers to look on the bright side: “I feel like it’s such a milestone for Victoria’s Secret to have a woman of color wearing the Fantasy Bra, because there’s only been two in the past, and the last one was almost 10 years ago,” she told Fashionista. “It’s major, and I think it’s awesome I get to represent that.”
Going back to the Forbes list, it’s worth noting that 30 percent of the modeling industry’s highest earners are Angels. While the company has many faults, undervaluing its charges’ work isn’t one of them.
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“I never thought I would have this opportunity to wear a $3 million bra, so this is still mind blowing to me,” Tookes, who was #blessed with her Angel wings just last year, shared. “I just wanted to be on the runway and be an Angel, so now that I get to do this — it’s insane.” (Watch her learn the big news in the clip above.)
Of course, “doing this” entails following an extremely restrictive diet (you know, the one Erin Heatherton spoke out against), tons of time spent at the gym and three hours of sitting stock-still covered in plaster, waiting for the Fantasy Bra’s mold to dry. “I almost couldn’t breathe because I’d move too much and it’d mess up the measurements,” Tookes, ever the good sport, told Elle.
In a year that’s seen the first black Victoria’s Secret PINK spokesmodel and many strategic production changes at the company, we can only hope this decision indicates that Victoria’s Secret is definitively headed in a more inclusive direction.