On Thursday, the fashion giant announced that the 25-year-old model would be the newest addition to its VS Collective. The initiative also includes Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Hailey Bieber, Naomi Osaka and others, and aims to represent the brand's new mission to prioritize diversity and inclusion.
Hadid, who was once an Angel with the company, admitted that she had her reservations about the partnership, taking over a year to even consider meeting with the brand, and she admitted, "even having that conversation was very complicated for me because of the way that I had felt in the past."
"It has been a few years since I've done anything with Victoria's Secret. What magnetized me to coming back was them coming to me and really proving to me that, behind the scenes, Victoria's Secret has changed so drastically … There was a type of way that, I think, a lot of us women who used to work with Victoria's Secret felt. And now, six of the seven [VS] board members are all female," she explained.
Victoria's Secret faced backlash in 2020 after sexual harassment and bullying allegations, made by those including Hadid, were leveled against Ed Razek, the company's former brand officer. After several meetings and presentations informing her of the brand's new direction, Hadid was on board. She deemed the VS Collective a "girl club" and noted that it is always figuring out ways to "make themselves feel more empowered within this business."
"I don't think shooting lingerie in general is comfortable for anybody — I want to make that very clear. It's not something that comes easy to anybody," Hadid said. "What lingerie has been to the world is just like, this unattainable, super uncomfortable way to be sexy for your man. What we want to do is really come in, hopefully with another collection that we'll design, [and] have it be really cool and comfortable and fun and sexy."
As far as the skeptics go, Hadid noted that she would never have partnered with the company if she did not truly believe that it was sincere about going in a new direction.
"I know firsthand how Victoria's Secret used to make me feel, and now, going onto set every day, there is just an energy that's switched," she explained. "I would never work for a company that not only made me feel a type of way, but made the world feel a type of way, until I knew for a fact that real change was going to be made."