What’s it like to hang around with Victoria’s Secret Angels as they prep for the annual fashion show, you ask? Like stepping into [a very pink] Heaven.
On Wednesday, the International Business Times got a behind-the-scenes look at the preparation and filming of the show, which will air Dec. 10 on CBS and be broadcast in more than 185 countries. Not only did we get a peek at the action behind the curtain of the global lingerie brand worth an estimated $6 billion, but IBTimes got to chat with some of the supermodels themselves, all of them nervous yet excited for their walk down the glittery runway.
The taping of the show with performances by Taylor Swift and Fall Out Boy did not begin until 4 p.m., but primping began nearly six hours earlier at the 69th Regiment Armory in Manhattan, which was guarded like the fortress it is. The media were greeted by security and bomb-sniffing dogs, which comes as no surprise when the world’s top supermodels, and a bra worth a cool $10 million (this year’s Fantasy Bra made by Mouawad) gather in one place.
But the tight security and the nearly hour's wait in a media holding area – since many of the model divas who were still bare-faced “don’t want cameras around right now,” a publicist announced – was well worth it to be submerged in all the sexy, behind-the-scenes action.
There was no shortage of people backstage in the floor-to-ceiling hot pink hair-and-makeup room, including 40 models sitting around wearing the brand’s signature pale-pink silk robes, 26 makeup artists and 22 hair stylists. Not to mention a swarm of media, crowded around the likes of Candice Swanepoel, Adriana Lima, Karlie Kloss and Behati Prinsloo, all of whom were sitting in Victoria’s Secret-branded director chairs alongside fellow models getting blowouts and their makeup done. Some grazed off the buffet while others posed for photos, socialized with the beauty team who were swinging around hair extensions, or typed away silently on their smartphones.
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What was it like being around and chatting with the world’s most famous – and most beautiful – supermodels for the day? Well, hanging around with these genetically gifted nymphs was not as ego-shattering or intimidating as you would think, since most of the models had personalities as lovely as their looks.
Alessandra Ambrosio, a Brazilian bombshell who was worked with Victoria’s Secret for more than a decade, was happily devouring food from the buffet and simultaneously answering questions from the press as four to five hair and makeup artists worked on her.
We also overheard another major model gabbing about grub: Doutzen Kroes, a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2008, said she cannot wait to have french fries after the show because she “loves” them.
Another VS veteran, Lindsay Ellingson, said even though she’s been walking in the shows since 2008, she still gets the jitters.
“I’m really nervous,” she confessed to IBTimes. “I woke up with butterflies in the stomach this morning. We all want it to go perfectly. I’m excited and nervous at the same time.”
What is she excited for? “Seeing what I get to wear, the fitting, everything. It’s so exciting to see what they’ve chosen for you to wear in the fashion show. It’s been a while since I’ve had three outfits in the show. And this year I think my outfits are better than ever,” she said, adding that one was made entirely with 3D printing technology, a first for Victoria’s Secret.
But in her five years doing the runway show, the 28-year-old San Diego native said her “own personal transformation” has been the best part of it all.
“I’ve really grown up and become a more confident and strong woman because of the things we get to do like constantly doing interviews," she said. "I’ve grown tremendously.”
Erin Heatherton, a 24-year-old Illinois native, unlike most of the divas who would not have their photos taken without makeup when press arrived, was more than willing to strike a pose while beautifully bare-faced.
“I prefer to take photos this way, actually,” she said before shining her megawatt smile at our camera. The blonde, who has walked in every VS fashion show since 2008, said the annual Victoria’s Secret shows are opportunities to reunite with her fellow Angels.
“I get to be with my best friends,” she said, pointing to her pal Lily Aldridge, sitting in the next chair.
Aldridge, just one of the many models who shared her pre-show fitness regimen on Instagram, said she prepped for this year’s show – her fifth – by doing Ballet Beautiful. However, she said she had a “calm morning” and skipped working out Wednesday to spend some time relaxing before the show.
Joan Smalls, a 25-year-old Puerto Rican model and avid Instagram user, has walked in the show twice already but said she still gets “nervous, but it’s the excitement jitters.” Her enthusiasm for Victoria’s Secret was evident in particular about one of her outfits in the show.
“It’s a beautiful peacock outfit,” she said. “It means so much to me because back where I’m from in Puerto Rico, there were always peacocks.” She and I also shared a laugh over our Halloween costumes, since we both dressed in the same neon monster costume.
“I was in Burlington, Vermont,” she said as a hair stylist added in hair extensions, “And I had to buy it. I added the green furry leg warmers and everything.”
She didn’t exactly agree, but I’ll declare the nearly 5-foot-11 Smalls the winner of this “who wore it better.”