Barbara Palvin, the 25-year-old Hungarian model, was named the newest Victoria’s Secret Angel last week, becoming the first native of Hungary to attain such a title. A great deal of the reaction to the announcement, per The Inquisitr, centered on Palvin having a more curvaceous figure than most models on the Victoria’s Secret runway. Palvin has been in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show twice before, including last year’s show.
Palvin has spoken in the past about body insecurities. However, she has not ever identified herself as a “plus-sized model,” nor has Victoria’s Secret announced her as such in the act of naming her an Angel.
“It’s hard for me to respect the rigorous criteria governing a model’s figure,” Palvin told The Daily Mail in 2018.
This is contrary to some reactions to the announcement, some of which have become part of viral memes. The origin of the confusion appears to be that a Facebook account called Superficial Doll posted an image collage of Palvin on the runway and the caption “Barbara Palvin is FINALLY the first plus-sized Victoria’s Secret angel. She DESERVES it.” That post, which may have been conceived with some degree of trolling in mind, was shared over 100,000 times, per When In Manila.
— Victoria's Secret (@VictoriasSecret) March 14, 2019
The Twitter user SheaButtaBaby also posted a widely-shared meme that consisted of that post and a funny reaction, as if to mock the notion that anyone with such a slender figure could be considered “plus-sized.”
Another user tweeted that “VS referring to Barbara Palvin as plus sized is so problematic it’s laughable.”
“She’s 121 and 5’8 so she is pretty freaking skinny! But she has curves!” one Instagram commenter said, as quoted in the above report from The Inquisitr.
In a controversial interview with Vogue last year, Ed Razek, the company executive who oversees the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, talked about the lack of plus-sized models in the show. Razek said that the company had considered putting both plus-sized and transgender models in the fashion show, but ultimately decided not to do so. He also revealed that the company “tried to” produce a plus-sized model television special in 2000, but “no one had any interest in it, [and they] still don’t.”
Palvin is one of 13 Angels for 2019, joining Lily Aldridge, Taylor Hill, Elsa Hosk, Martha Hunt, Stella Maxwell, Behati Prinsloo, Lais Ribeiro, Sara Sampaio, Josephine Skriver, Romee Strijd, Candice Swanepoel, and Jasmine Tookes. The date hasn’t been announced yet for the 2019 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, but the show typically takes place in November or December.