Victoria’s Secret: Facts About Who’s ‘Victoria’ And How Much The Models Make

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show aired on Tuesday night, December 8. This year’s annual sexy show took place in New York City. If you love the brand but don’t know much about it, then you will find some of the following facts fascinating.

The History Of Victoria’s Secret

Some have wondered who Victoria is and why she has a secret. Well, it all started when businessman Roy Raymond wanted to start a lingerie business for both himself and his wife. He went to a department store to buy his wife something nice, only to find saleswomen watching his every move, he told Newsweek back in 1981. Not to mention, most of the loungewear and sleepwear for women wasn’t that attractive.

“When I tried to buy lingerie for my life, I was faced with racks of terry-cloth robes and ugly floral-print nylon nightgowns, and I always had the feeling the department-store saleswomen thought I was an unwelcome intruder.”

The Stanford MBA grad borrowed $80,000 to open the store now known as Victoria’s Secret. He wanted to make a lingerie business that not only made men feel comfortable buying lingerie for their wives and significant others, but also carried attractive lingerie. But Victoria is not the name of Raymond’s wife.

Victoria's Secret Store
[Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images]
The name is about the brand’s décor rather than the name of a particular woman, according to TIME. If you walk into any Victoria’s Secret store today, you’ll notice that it feels like a fancy boudoir. Raymond and his wife, Gaye, wanted the store to look inspired by the Victorian era. They used the name “Victoria” to use the connotation associated with that era, and the word “Secret” to give that sense of intimacy for their shoppers.

But that didn’t stop some people from thinking that Victoria was an actual woman. Raymond told Women’s Wear Daily in 1981 that some even sent gifts to the mysterious “Victoria.”

“Some people send in romantic poetry, and somebody sent her a gift certificate. It keeps the image alive.”

But Raymond realized that his store attracted more women rather than men. According to WWD, women were a huge part of the Victoria’s Secret audience, making up 70 percent of in-store shoppers and 50 percent of catalog purchases. He sold his business to Leslie Wexner of The Limited (now known as L Brands) for $4 million. After the sale, the focus shifted to women buying lingerie for themselves instead of for their men.

The Earnings Of The Top Victoria’s Secret Models

If you were watching the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show last night, you were probably wondering how much these models make for wearing the Fantasy Bra and Angel Wings. According to the Elite Daily, the exact numbers of each model’s payout from the show are rather vague, maybe around $100,000, but recent reports say that the amounts are lower than in previous years. Unless you’re a top model, then you get paid top dollar.

Forbes just released its list of the highest-paid models, most of which are Victoria’s Secret models. Veteran Angels Adriana Lima makes $9 million a year, thanks to her endorsements with Maybelline Cosmetics and Vogue. Another veteran, Alessandra Ambrosio, makes $5 million a year and even has a successful swim line.

Adriana Lima
[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret]
Candice Swanepoel also makes $5 million per year, thanks to her Versace fragrance contract. Lily Aldridge is more than just a VS Angel. She’s also the face of Michael Kors, bringing her income up to $2 million per year.

Of course, we can’t forget about newcomers Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid. Jenner, who has become the face of Estee Lauder and Calvin Klein, makes $4 million per year. Hadid makes a humble $2.5 million per year, but that could change since she has become of the “It” girls of 2015.

The Business Side Of Victoria’s Secret

On Tuesday night, 47 leggy models walked the hour-long fashion show, making it a serious business. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion has quickly become the most-watched fashion even on the planet, especially since it’s easy and accessible unlike New York Fashion Week. Over 9.1 million viewers watched the 2014 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, down from 9.7 million in 2013, according to Nielsen.

A 2011 estimate revealed that the Fashion Show will cost $12 million, while most fashion shows cost $200,000 to $1 million to make. The Victoria’s Secret brand is doing well, too. Analysts say that it’s stealing market share with steady same sales growth, despite a dip in mall traffic.

Despite captivating less viewers for the past few years, its sales are up. Victoria’s Secret revenue for the fiscal year, which ended January 31, 2015, was $7.2 billion. It also tallied up a $1.2 billion profit. Estimates for this year’s revenue are at $7.6 billion.

[Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret]

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