It’s one of the biggest fashion brands in the world- but Victoria’s Secret also has a murkier, sinister side to it under all the glitz and glamour. The new documentary Victoria’s Secret: Angels and Demons will be released on Paramount+, and delves into the deceptively perfect world of the powerhouse lingerie brand.
The brand, made famous by its high profile marketing and models dubbed “Angels”, expanded rapidly in the 1990s and 2000s to become one of the clothing names out there. This was under the ownership of businessman Les Wexner, who plays a key role in the documentary. The company became a powerhouse with a devoted employee culture and provacative and controversial marketing strategy. The doc also details how the brand has in recent years suffered a decline in sales and interest, in part due to revelations and scandals emerging from the company.
Reports and allegations of bullying, harassment and sexism at the company reached a fever pitch in 2020, with several models and other employees speaking of unwanted advances and harassing behaviour from marketing officer and Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show organised Edward Razek. We hear from models and employees in the documentary, like former Angel Frederique Van Der Wal, and their experiences working in this enviroment. The most explosive revelations and allegations however concerned the company’s connection to convicted sex offender and trafficker Jeffery Epstein, who also had close ties to CEO Leslie Wexner.
Wexner stepped down from his role in 2020 following these reports and scrutiny of his relationship with Epstein. Epstein had reportedly made advances and coerced several models in the years he had ties to the company, and used false pretences to get close with models. Some also felt that some of Victoria’s Secret’s outfits targeted and sexualised children, further adding to the scrutiny. The documentary explains all of this and more in detail that makes you feel uncomfortable and squirm, but it’s important viewing to see how the company (and others) have used their power and influence to harass and bully people, and highlights backward attitudes to beauty and body image in the industry.
The documentary is in three parts, and was released on Hulu in the US followed by a release here on Paramount Plus. If you’re interested in an expose into the corporate world and how it can exploit people, then this documentary is for you.
VICTORIA’S SECRET: ANGELS AND DEMONS IS AVALIABLE ON PARAMOUNT PLUS