Deb Haaland Is One of the First Native American Congresswomen. It Took Two Centuries.

Deb Haaland wears the same pearl necklace almost every day. Not a string of delicate iridescent beads that are usually coupled with the blazers and skirts on Capitol Hill, but a set of sturdy, silver Navajo pearls that she bought at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Soon, those beads will be making their debut in Washington D.C. following a midterm election cycle that resulted in a historic number of women taking congressional seats in the 116th Congress.

Haaland is in that group. She’s Native American. She’s a single mother. She bucks against the status quo. And she’s New Mexico’s newly-minted Congresswoman.

“A long time ago people knew where you were from by the jewelry you wore,” Haaland told Glamour over the summer. “They knew you were Navajo or what pueblo you were from because there’s different styles. This [necklace is] Navajo. I’m not Navajo, but I love it so I’ll wear it. Silver is protection.”

A member of New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna tribe, Haaland, 57, is now one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. On Tuesday, she took the lead against her opponents, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton, making history alongside another Native American congresswoman, Sharice Davids of Kansas. The two share more than the obvious connection in heritage and their new House status—Haaland and Davids go back, having supported each other since attending the same summer program at the American Indian Law Center.

“Deb and I spoke soon after I announced I would run. The first time I called Deb, she was like, ‘If you need to sleep on my couch, you can,'” Davids, who is also the first openly gay representative of Kansas, told Glamour in September. “In some way, I almost feel—Deb, you don’t even know this—that just hearing her on the other end in that first call, telling me, ‘Yes, do this,’ was the validation I needed.”

It’s not hard to believe. The generational power of women and unbreakable family ties are embedded in Haaland’s DNA, she says. Her mother, who served in the Navy, raised Haaland and her two sisters and brother while her father, who was in the Marine Corps, fought in Vietnam. Haaland reflects on the unseen and under-appreciated work and the emotional labor that mothers often shoulder to keep the families together.

“There were four of us and she had to keep order, and she was by herself a lot,” Haaland says of her mom, who’s 83. “In spite of how strict she was, when it came to food, she would bend over backward to cook what we liked. As Pueblo Indians, food is important to us. I almost didn’t realize how wonderful she was about that. I didn’t like raw onions so whenever she’d make enchiladas, she’d make mine without onions and she’d put toothpicks in the top so we knew which ones were mine. You know what I mean?”

These are the little things that make Haaland who she is today. It’s how she can get so laser-focused and particular about the things her constituents need, and why she vows to show up, fully and completely, for the Native American community. “I will do my best to always bring in tribal leaders to speak to the issues that affect them,” she says. “I don’t want to speak for tribes. But I feel like I can speak strongly in defending tribes and the U.S. government’s aggregation of their trust responsibility.”

If anything, she has the background and resumé to do just that.

As the kid of military parents, Haaland moved around a lot, but New Mexico is her home base: She graduated from high school in Albuquerque, and went to the University of New Mexico and UNM Law School. Significant to Haaland being a first is that she’s also a working class indigenous woman who forged her own path into politics, without a silver spoon: As a young mom, she started a salsa company in the 1990s, delivering cases of the stuff out of her Maroon GMC Safari to grocers and gift stores across New Mexico. Her then-two-year-old daughter Somah would ride in the passenger seat.

“I wanted her with me 24 hours a day because I felt like I needed to influence her at that early age and it paid off,” she says.

Deb Haaland and daughter

PHOTO: Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland pictured with daughter Somah.

While pursuing her law degree, Haaland made ends meet with the assistance of food stamps. And with such a busy schedule, she had to teach Somah how to ride the city bus to school in case her mom couldn’t be there. She earned her organizing chops volunteering for dozens of local and statewide campaigns, and mobilized native voters on the 2004 John Kerry campaign and both of Barack Obama’s campaigns (she served as Obama’s Native American vote director in 2012). She eventually became the Chair of the Democratic Party in New Mexico and ran for Lieutenant Governor in 2014. She’s also served as chairwoman of her tribe’s economic development corporation.

Dedicating much of her career to getting out the native vote has primed Haaland to work even harder to protect it: In recent weeks, the Supreme Court upheld a law in North Dakota that requires voters to show identification with a current street address, when many reservations don’t use physical street addresses, leaving thousands of voters disenfranchised and unable to vote. “Native Americans couldn’t vote in New Mexico until 1948, [but] we’ve had elected officials who are deeply invested in making sure underrepresented folks get to the polls,” Haaland says. “Every time I think about the voter suppression happening in our country it makes we want to win even more so I can go to Congress and work to overcome that,” she told Glamour before Tuesday’s victory.

For those who can’t vote, Haaland is hoping to be their voice: Just as she stood with activists at Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, Haaland is committed to expanding the use of renewable energy in her state, and securing strong healthcare and education. Her inclusivity efforts won’t stop at her community, either: Somah, who’s now 24 and identifies as queer, has educated her mom on gender identity and LGBTQ issues. Haaland’s campaign priorities include working to close the pay gap for black, Latina, indigenous, genderqueer and transgender people, and fighting “bathroom bills” that restrict trans people from using public restrooms.

She’s unabashed about her criticism of Trump, too. Haaland’s called out the president’s immigration policies, which have separated thousands of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and she is vocal about abolishing ICE. “It’s history repeating itself for no reason, other than a president who is just putting forward the most racist immigration policies we’ve almost ever seen,” she says, comparing the historic separation of Native Americans to the separation of migrant children from their parents.

But what makes Haaland so accessible, such a beacon for her community, is that she feels free to bare it all. Like many women who ran for office this election season, she didn’t hide parts of her story that might traditionally hurt a candidate. In one of her campaign ads, she climbs Albuquerque’s Sandias Mountains while revealing that she’s 30 years sober.

“Deb Haaland’s campaign for Congress is a representation of the culture shift that is being led by Native and Indigenous women to build a future that is safe, abundant and connected,” says Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO of Roanhorse Consulting and cofounder of Native Women Lead. “We need a voice that can advocate for women’s reproductive rights, pushing for stronger laws to protect women and children from violence and closing the pay equity gap that women, specifically Native American women face, and a voice that has directly experienced the disparities themselves,” she continued.

“Deb is that voice and solution.”

What isn’t lost on Haaland is how this moment almost didn’t happen. While enrolled in Emerge New Mexico—a leadership and training program with the goal of getting more Democratic women into public office—she says she learned that if you ask a man to run for office, he’ll say yes the first time. Women, Haaland says, have to be asked seven times before they’ll actually run.

“I bet that’s one of the reasons why women don’t say yes right away,” she says. “If it were my mom, she would think, ‘Who’s going to cook for my kids the way that I do?'”

It’s a good thing she did: Along with Davids, Haaland’s historic win means that two Native American women—on the land where her indigenous ancestors lived—are now U.S. Representatives. It took more than two centuries from the time Congress was established in 1789.

“Representation matters,” Haaland says. “I feel like some young native women are seeing me and saying, ‘Finally, somebody who looks like me.'”


Jessica Militare is a journalist living in New York City

MORE: Donald Trump Calls Her ‘Wacky’—Democrats Call Her the Key to Winning Big

Deb Haaland Is One of the First Native American Congresswomen—It Took Only Two Centuries

Deb Haaland wears the same pearl necklace almost every day. Not a string of delicate iridescent beads that are usually coupled with the blazers and skirts on Capitol Hill, but a set of sturdy silver Navajo pearls that she bought at the annual Santa Fe Indian Market. Soon those beads will be making their debut in Washington, D.C., following a midterm election cycle that resulted in a historic number of women taking congressional seats in the 116th Congress.

Haaland is in that group. She’s Native American. She’s a single mother. She bucks the status quo. And she’s New Mexico’s newly minted congresswoman.

“A long time ago people knew where you were from by the jewelry you wore,” Haaland told Glamour over the summer. “They knew you were Navajo or what pueblo you were from because there’s different styles. This [necklace is] Navajo. I’m not Navajo, but I love it so I’ll wear it. Silver is protection.”

A member of New Mexico’s Pueblo of Laguna tribe, Haaland, 57, is now one of the first Native American women to serve in Congress. On Tuesday she took the lead against her opponents, Republican Janice Arnold-Jones and Libertarian Lloyd Princeton, making history alongside another Native American congresswoman, Sharice Davids of Kansas. The two share more than the obvious connection in heritage and their new House status—Haaland and Davids go back, having supported each other since attending the same summer program at the American Indian Law Center.

“Deb and I spoke soon after I announced I would run. The first time I called Deb, she was like, ‘If you need to sleep on my couch, you can,'” Davids, who is also the first openly gay representative of Kansas, told Glamour in September. “In some way, I almost feel…that just hearing her on the other end in that first call, telling me, ‘Yes, do this,’ was the validation I needed.”

It’s not hard to believe. The generational power of women and unbreakable family ties are embedded in Haaland’s DNA, she says. Her mother, who served in the Navy, raised Haaland and her two sisters and brother while her father, who was in the Marine Corps, fought in Vietnam. Haaland reflects on the unseen and underappreciated work and the emotional labor that mothers often shoulder to keep the families together.

“There were four of us and she had to keep order, and she was by herself a lot,” Haaland says of her mom, who’s 83. “In spite of how strict she was, when it came to food, she would bend over backward to cook what we liked. As Pueblo Indians, food is important to us. I almost didn’t realize how wonderful she was about that. I didn’t like raw onions, so whenever she’d make enchiladas, she’d make mine without onions, and she’d put toothpicks in the top so we knew which ones were mine. You know what I mean?”

These are the little things that make Haaland who she is today. It’s how she can get so laser-focused and particular about the things her constituents need and why she vows to show up, fully and completely, for the Native American community. “I will do my best to always bring in tribal leaders to speak to the issues that affect them,” she says. “I don’t want to speak for tribes. But I feel like I can speak strongly in defending tribes and the U.S. government’s aggregation of their trust responsibility.”

If anything, she has the background and résumé to do just that.

As the kid of military parents, Haaland moved around a lot, but New Mexico is her home base: She graduated from high school in Albuquerque and went to the University of New Mexico and UNM Law School. Significant to Haaland being a first is that she’s also a working-class Indigenous woman who forged her own path into politics, without a silver spoon: As a young mom, she started a salsa company in the 1990s, delivering cases of the stuff out of her Maroon GMC Safari to grocers and gift stores across New Mexico. Her then-two-year-old daughter, Somah, would ride in the passenger seat.

“I wanted her with me 24 hours a day because I felt like I needed to influence her at that early age, and it paid off,” she says.

Deb Haaland and daughter

PHOTO: Deb Haaland

Deb Haaland pictured with daughter Somah

While pursuing her law degree, Haaland made ends meet with the assistance of food stamps. And with such a busy schedule, she had to teach Somah how to ride the city bus to school in case her mom couldn’t be there. She earned her organizing chops volunteering for dozens of local and statewide campaigns, and mobilized Native voters on the 2004 John Kerry campaign and both of Barack Obama’s campaigns (she served as Obama’s Native American vote director in 2012). She eventually became the chair of the Democratic Party in New Mexico and ran for lieutenant governor in 2014. She’s also served as chairwoman of her tribe’s economic development corporation.

Dedicating much of her career to getting out the Native vote has primed Haaland to work even harder to protect it: In recent weeks the Supreme Court upheld a law in North Dakota that requires voters to show identification with a current street address, when many reservations don’t use physical street addresses, leaving thousands of voters disenfranchised and unable to vote. “Native Americans couldn’t vote in New Mexico until 1948, [but] we’ve had elected officials who are deeply invested in making sure underrepresented folks get to the polls,” Haaland says. “Every time I think about the voter suppression happening in our country, it makes we want to win even more so I can go to Congress and work to overcome that,” she told Glamour before Tuesday’s victory.

For those who can’t vote, Haaland is hoping to be their voice: Just as she stood with activists at Standing Rock to protest the Dakota Access Pipeline, Haaland is committed to expanding the use of renewable energy in her state and securing strong health care and education. Her inclusivity efforts won’t stop at her community, either: Somah, who’s now 24 and identifies as queer, has educated her mom on gender identity and LGBTQ issues. Haaland’s campaign priorities include working to close the pay gap for black, Latina, Indigenous, genderqueer, and transgender people, and fighting “bathroom bills” that restrict trans people from using public restrooms.

She’s unabashed about her criticism of Trump too. Haaland’s called out the President’s immigration policies, which have separated thousands of children from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border, and she is vocal about abolishing ICE. “It’s history repeating itself for no reason, other than a president who is just putting forward the most racist immigration policies we’ve almost ever seen,” she says, comparing the historic separation of Native Americans to the separation of migrant children from their parents.

But what makes Haaland so accessible, such a beacon for her community, is that she feels free to bare it all. Like many women who ran for office this election season, she didn’t hide parts of her story that might traditionally hurt a candidate. In one of her campaign ads, she climbs Albuquerque’s Sandias Mountains while revealing that she’s 30 years sober.

“Deb Haaland’s campaign for Congress is a representation of the culture shift that is being led by Native and Indigenous women to build a future that is safe, abundant, and connected,” says Vanessa Roanhorse, CEO of Roanhorse Consulting and cofounder of Native Women Lead. “We need a voice that can advocate for women’s reproductive rights, pushing for stronger laws to protect women and children from violence, and closing the pay equity gap that women, specifically Native American women, face, and a voice that has directly experienced the disparities themselves,” she continued.

“Deb is that voice and solution.”

What isn’t lost on Haaland is how this moment almost didn’t happen. While enrolled in Emerge New Mexico—a leadership and training program with the goal of getting more Democratic women into public office—she says she learned that if you ask a man to run for office, he’ll say yes the first time. Women, Haaland says, have to be asked seven times before they’ll actually run.

“I bet that’s one of the reasons why women don’t say yes right away,” she says. “If it were my mom, she would think, Who’s going to cook for my kids the way that I do?”

It’s a good thing she did: Along with Davids, Haaland’s historic win means that two Native American women—on the land where her indigenous ancestors lived—are now U.S. representatives. It took more than two centuries from the time Congress was established in 1789.

“Representation matters,” Haaland says. “I feel like some young Native women are seeing me and saying, ‘Finally, somebody who looks like me.'”


Jessica Militare is a journalist living in New York City.

MORE: Donald Trump Calls Her ‘Wacky’—Democrats Call Her the Key to Winning Big

Meredith and Derek’s Relationship on *Grey’s Anatomy* Wouldn’t Happen in 2018

Meredith (Ellen Pompeo) and Derek’s (Patrick Dempsey) relationship is one of the most iconic in the Grey’s Anatomy universe. Their romance was as embedded into mid-2000s culture as Paris Hilton, Juicy Couture tracksuits, and chunky highlights. However, if Grey’s Anatomy were to premiere in 2018—in light of #MeToo and Time’s Up—their relationship would look completely different. In fact, it might not even exist.

That’s what GA showrunner Krista Vernoff told the Los Angeles Times in a new interview from this week.

“If you look at, for example, Meredith Grey [Ellen Pompeo] and Derek Shepherd [Patrick Dempsey] through the lens of Time’s Up and #MeToo, he was her boss, she was an intern, and she kept saying, ‘No, walk away from me,’ and he kept pursuing her, and that is probably not a story we would tell on the show today, and it’s a beautiful reflection of the changing times,” she said.

Vernoff says the show is taking active measures to ensure the on-screen romances mirror the changes in our culture. Look no further than Meredith’s relationship with resident Andrew DeLuca [Giacomo Gianniotti] for proof of that.

“This season, we’re doing a little bit of a reversal as we begin to build this love triangle that’s emerging with DeLuca as one the people in that triangle, and he is a resident and Meredith is an attending, and we’re having to address it differently than we ever would have before,” she said.

Vernoff continued, “We’re having to talk about and look at power dynamics. It is an ongoing conversation in the writer’s room. How do we tell that story in a way that feels honest and romantic and sexy and yet proactive and progressive?”

Grey’s Anatomy airs Thursday nights at 8 P.M. ET on ABC.

Related Stories:

Grey’s Anatomy Brought Back a Bunch of Familiar Faces for Last Night’s Episode

Ted Mosby From How I Met Your Mother Is Meredith Grey‘s Love Interest This Season

What Ellen Pompeo Just Said About the Future of Grey’s Anatomy Might Worry You

Victoria Secret Fashion Show 2018: What’s Holding It Back From Size Inclusivity?

When the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show taped on November 8, there are some things we know to expect: pink satin robes, glossy air kisses, bedazzled push-up bras, elaborate angel wings. If the casting announcements are any indication, we can also expect to see the usual army of 5’10, size-two models—not surprising for a runway show, perhaps, but a far cry from the direction much of the lingerie industry is headed.

During the past few years, Victoria’s Secret’s competitors—including Aerie, ThirdLove, and Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty—have built their brands on messages of self-acceptance and body positivity, touting diverse casts of models, Photoshop-free campaigns, and (relatively) broad size ranges. And they’ve reaped rewards in the form of sales and social media accolades. Nearly every new startup in the lingerie space has “inclusivity” baked into its mission statement. And at the mass level, retailers like Target and J.Crew now cast non-sample-sized models in marketing materials as a matter of course.

Victoria’s Secret appears to be holding their ground, a fact that some of the brand’s rivals and critics have seized upon as a marketing opportunity of their own, calling for boycotts and staging campaigns with pointed hashtags like #ImNoAngel (Lane Bryant) and #weareallangels (ThirdLove and curve model Robyn Lawley). Ashley Graham—perhaps the most obvious candidate for a spot on Victoria’s Secret’s roster, with her 7.5 million Instagram followers and ample runway experience— skewered the brand on social media last year, posting an image of herself in a lingerie set by plus-size brand Addition Elle and a Photoshopped set of angel wings on the same day VS taped its show. The caption: “Got my wings! … #thickthighssavelives.”

Graham’s post racked up nearly 775,000 likes, putting it on par with some of the most popular images from the show itself, according to an analysis by Instagram marketing firm Dash Hudson.

If Victoria’s Secret was still the seemingly unstoppable juggernaut that it was throughout most of the 2000s and 2010s, then the old argument that “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” might apply. But since early 2016, parent company L Brands has reported quarter after quarter of declining sales and shrinking profits. And CBS, which had aired the annual fashion show, said that ratings in 2017 were down 30 percent from the year prior among viewers aged 18-49, with just under 5 million people tuning in to the broadcast. (In 2018, the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has a new network home: ABC.)

2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show In Shanghai - Hair & Makeup

PHOTO: Matt Winkelmeyer

There could be many factors at play here—new competitors in the lingerie space, changing viewership habits and shopping behavior… But the consumers Victoria’s Secret needs to connect with in order to sustain itself in the future—younger millennials and generation Z—tend to respond to brands they perceive as authentic and values-driven, and shun the hyper-sexualized imagery that appealed to previous generations, according to research firm PSFK. Gen Z, roughly defined as teens and young adults born between 1997 and 2010, will account for 40 percent of all consumers by 2020, ad agency Barkley predicts, together holding up to $143 billion in direct spending power; younger millennials, meanwhile, are now exiting their college years and generating income of their own, making them an increasingly enticing demographic for brands.

Victoria’s Secret has done an exceptionally good job at meeting these shoppers where they spend a significant portion of their time: Instagram. It has cast celebrity models like Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid, who boast 97 million and 44 million followers respectively, in its annual fashion show. The brand’s Angels, the select group of models on long-term contract, make frequent appearances on its social media channels. But while this online reach helps ensure the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is seen by hundreds of millions around the world, that doesn’t necessarily translate into sales.

“There’s a difference between buzz and buyers,” explains Jeetendr Sehdev, New York Times bestselling author of The Kim Kardashian Principle and celebrity branding authority. “And while Victoria’s Secret continues its buzz, it’s suffering on the buyers front.”

Body positivity, meanwhile, is “one of the key movements within the lingerie industry,” says Jo Lynch, lingerie editor at trend forecaster WGSN. Take the acclaim of Savage x Fenty, which closed New York Fashion Week with a runway show-performance art hybrid starring an exceptionally diverse cast of models and dancers, as “a good example of a sexier brand sending out a clear message about who the lingerie is for, and who should enjoy it: the women who wear it.”

Can Victoria’s Secret thrive with the same old formula? The brand doesn’t normally comment publicly on the lack of body diversity among its models. But decisions about its annual runway extravaganza can’t be taken lightly: The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show takes a full year of planning and can cost upwards of $20 million to produce, L Brands’ Chief Marketing Officer Ed Razek told the New York Times in 2016.

In a statement provided to Glamour, Monica Mitro, EVP of Public Relations at Victoria’s Secret, said: “The women in this year’s show are from all over the world. They represent many stages of a modeling career and each has her own story to tell. Scrutinizing women’s bodies of any size related to the Victoria’s Secret brand is unfortunate because it puts judgement on women of any body type. Victoria’s Secret believes the body positivity dialogue should be positive. It should not be done by putting other women down, including the 60 women that are excited to be in our Fashion Show. These women represent so many important aspects of diversity that should be celebrated beyond solely focusing on their bodies.”

PHOTO: Getty

PHOTO: Getty

Razek and Mitro also sat down with Vogue this year, and, in a story published the day of the show’s taping, responded to some of the criticisms it has faced. “I think we address the way the market is shifting on a constant basis,” he said. “If you’re asking if we’ve considered putting a transgender model in the show or looked at putting a plus-size model in the show, we have. We invented the plus-size model show in what was our sister division, Lane Bryant. Lane Bryant still sells plus-size lingerie, but it sells a specific range, just like every specialty retailer in the world sells a range of clothing. As do we. We market to who we sell to, and we don’t market to the whole world.”

In terms of its fashion show casting, Victoria’s Secret puts heavy emphasis on physical fitness, messaging it’s ramped up in the past few years with its “Train Like an Angel” campaigns, which push the brand’s activewear offerings and might serve to silence critics who contend that Victoria’s Secret’s idea of “what’s sexy” is all about being thin. Models frequently talk about the intensive training regimes they embark on months before the show.

But the brand would hardly have to give up its fitness-first narrative in order to add a few curvy models to its lineup. Graham, for one, trains at New York’s Dogpound gym, where many of the Angels are regulars. Candice Huffine is a runner with her own line of size-inclusive activewear. Marquita Pring can swing a set of kettlebells with the best of them. If the show is the modeling world’s Super Bowl, as it’s often called, then a size 8 or 14 can train just as hard for it as a size 0.

And while any change is sure to bring out some haters, the praise will almost certainly drown them out, if the runways of New York Fashion Week are any indication. In recent seasons, brands like Christian Siriano that have made diversity a priority have not only been celebrated in the press, but have ultimately boosted their bottom lines.

Casting director Hollie Schliftman, who helps bring Siriano’s vision to life every season, declined to comment on Victoria’s Secret directly, but she says she understands why some brands are still holding out when it comes to their casting. “I see how people just love to do what they’re used to,” she says. “It’s hard—this industry is a really hard [one] and people are very critical and very judgmental. So it is taking a risk going out of the norm of what people are used to, but it’s so nice to see that people… that there are some designers that really just believe in what they believe in and they take the risk and they do it.”

PHOTO: Getty

PHOTO: Getty

PHOTO: Getty

Any change, though, has to come from the top, according to casting director Gilleon Smith, whose work with New York brand Chromat has also earned widespread accolades for its radical inclusivity.

“I’ve always said this a lot, but fashion is not a progressive industry,” Smith says. “It’s very traditional, which people don’t really get, but people kind of stick with who they know—what photographer, what stylist—and nobody really goes outside of that in terms of working with different creative teams unless something bad happens. So I think that Victoria’s Secret has had this formula that they use, and they have the same people continuing on the legacy and the tradition of what they’ve always done, and that is their barometer or metric for success.”

And the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has made significant strides in terms of racial diversity in recent years, with models of color making up close to 50 percent of the cast of 2017’s Shanghai program—that’s a vastly higher number than the 32 percent average of the Fall 2018 shows. Natural hair has also become a normal sight on the runway, after years of uniform beachy waves, to much fanfare.

Size, however, seems to be a more challenging frontier. One hurdle may be the fact that Victoria’s Secret simply doesn’t carry sizes larger than a 40DDD in bras and an XL (equivalent to a size 16) in panties and apparel, meaning many, if not most plus-size models are already sized out of the line. That could create another problem: If the brand were to cast someone like Graham, who wears a size 16, it could come off as disingenuous if Victoria’s Secret didn’t also commit to expanding its size range—more a ploy for press than a genuine desire to reach an untapped market.

Perhaps it’s a commitment to the promise of “fantasy”—an adjective it uses in its marketing materials, and to describe the multimillion-dollar bra one lucky model wears every year—over reality. This fantasy, to hear the brand’s executives tell it, is the idea that every girl can aspire to be like a Victoria’s Secret model: “It’s a celebration of powerful women by powerful women who work very hard at what they do, live a healthy life and inspire legions of admirers,” Razek told the Times in 2016.

PHOTO: Getty

Chromat’s Smith, however, has a somewhat different take: “It’s kind of like a Christmas special. It’s this whimsical fashion cartoon that everybody’s watching.” The show, in this sense, is more like pageantry than a reflection of the real world (though even Miss America dropped its swimsuit competition this year).

But does fantasy still resonate with today’s shopper? According to YouGov, a market research and data analytics firm, 70 percent of U.S. consumers between the ages of 18 and 34—Victoria’s Secret’s prime demographic—say they like seeing “real looking people” in ads.

“Consumers more than ever connect to the product through those people presenting them, so if the models are not engaging the customer or they feel like they can’t somehow relate then the casting has failed,” say Drew Dasent and Daniel Peddle, casting directors and co-founders of The Secret Gallery, who declined to comment on Victoria’s Secret’s casting choices.

“If you’re looking at Victoria’s Secret and the people who shop there, it’s people completely across the U.S. and beyond,” says Smith. “And I don’t understand why you wouldn’t want to have representation of all kinds.”

Sehdev, the brand marketing expert, says Victoria’s Secret will need to act fast and decisively if it wants to hold onto its place at the top. “It’s a highly competitive market, so it’s great that they have made some movement [in terms of racial diversity], but they have truly got to make some radical changes moving forward,” he says. “They have to really reinvent and reimagine the brand in a way that is fresh, provocative, bold, and brazen for a new generation of consumers that think, act, and feel very differently.”

Despite its recent challenges, Victoria’s Secret is still a multi-million brand with the power to make supermodels’ careers and broadcast its image of what sexy looks like to countless women around the world. It’s a mall staple, and, with its teen-geared Pink brand, the first lingerie store that many American girls shop at. With a broader range of sizes, it might be fair to say that its clientele would be nearly as diverse as the country itself.

“The brand has a specific image, has a point of view,” Razek told Vogue. “It has a history. It’s hard to build a brand. It’s hard to build Vogue, Ralph Lauren, Apple, Starbucks. You have a brand position and you have a brand point of view. The girls who have earned their way into the show have worked for it… And all of these things that [other brands] ‘invented,’ we have done and continue to do.”

The question now is what will the lingerie giant do with the influence it still wields?

Michelle Obama Reveals She Had a Miscarriage and Underwent IVF With Both Daughters

In her new memoir, Becoming, Michelle Obama reveals that she suffered a miscarriage in her 30s and experienced fertility issues while trying to have children with her husband, former president Barack Obama. Ultimately, the couple conceived their daughters, Sasha and Malia, through in vitro fertilization—something Michelle dealt with largely on her own as Barack was away serving the state legislature. As the former First Lady details in her book, she had to administer the shots that are a part of in vitro fertilization many times herself.

Michelle opened up more about this experience to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America Friday (November 9). “I felt like I failed because I didn’t know how common miscarriages were because we don’t talk about them,” she said. “We sit in our own pain, thinking that somehow we’re broken.”

She continued, “That’s one of the reasons why I think it’s important to talk to young mothers about the fact that miscarriages happen.”

In the interview, Michelle says she realized the “biological clock is real” around age 34 or 35 and that “egg production is limited.” “We had to do IVF,” Michelle told Roberts.

Ultimately, Michelle hopes opening up about her struggles will help other women going through similar experiences. “I think it’s the worst thing that we do to each other as women, not share the truth about our bodies and how they work,” she said.

Becoming will hit bookstores and E-reader platforms everywhere on Tuesday, November 13. Click here to look at tickets for Michelle’s upcoming book tour in support of the project.

Related Stories:

Michelle Obama Is Back and Doing What She Does Best—Standing Up for Girls

Barack Obama Celebrates 26 Years of Marriage to Michelle Obama With a Sweet Instagram Post

Michelle Obama Is Selling Out Arenas for Her Book Tour—And Tickets Cost as Much as $3,000

The Big Bang Theory Season 12, Episode 8 Recap: Raj and Anu Set a Wedding Date

When Big Bang Theory executive producer Steve Holland told me earlier this fall that Raj’s storyline with a new love interest was going to “play out over the course of the season,” I was skeptical. Actually, it was more than that: I was disappointed.

With Sheldon and Amy now wed, Penny and Leonard in their third year of marriage, and Bernadette and Howard managing two kids, I thought pairing up Raj for the final season felt a little like checking off a to-do list. Plus, if the writers wanted a happy ending for Raj, why does that have to mean an engagement or marriage? That’s not to say I don’t want Raj to find someone or be happy, but I love how relatable the relationships on Big Bang are. And in 2018, it’s extremely relatable for romance/love/engagement to take longer for some. So why rush it with Raj?

When I asked Holland if he was open to Raj not ending up with anyone by series end, Holland started by saying, “I try not to…” before adding that “no matter what ending we do, we’ll upset somebody somehow. We’re just trying to focus on an ending that feels right to us and hopefully people will like it.”

Well, surprisingly—shockingly—I’m on board with Raj and Anu. The introduction of Anu (played by Rati Gupta) has been an energy shot the show needed going into its final season. She’s real, smart, and interesting. She doesn’t have time for BS—from Raj or anyone else. She’s looking for a grown-up relationship, and she’s tired of waiting for 30-something boys to become 30-something men.

The Procreation Calculation

PHOTO: Michael Yarish

While I still wish Raj and Anu could have been introduced by their parents without the pressure of it leading to an arranged marriage, I am excited to see where this could go. And apparently it’s going to a Valentine’s Day 2019 wedding date, which was jarring to hear. (Really, you two? It has to be that soon?) Still, I’m finding myself bored whenever Anu and Raj aren’t the focus of an episode. (Case in point: last week’s.)

Tonight’s episode—titled “The Consummation Deviation”—started with Raj making sure his friends would be free on February 14 and willing to fly to India for the ceremony. It’ll be interesting to see if that date actually comes to fruition, but let’s not worry about that yet. As we saw in the latest episode, there are other momentous occasions to get to first.

Starting with the moment when Anu matter-of-factly tells Raj they should have sex. He almost runs off the road, but that may be because he’s more worried about being naked following a salt-heavy dinner than actually doing it with Anu for the first time. Anu clears things up and says she doesn’t mean right now, but it’s important to her that they know they’re compatible before getting married. Uh, maybe make sure you’re compatible before you tell all your friends about a wedding date? But that’s just me.

Anu says she’ll get a room at her hotel this weekend—remember, she’s a concierge—but Raj privately goes into panic mode. Later at Leonard’s apartment, he confesses to the guys (minus Sheldon) that he’s pretty anxious because this is the woman he’s going to marry. What if he’s no good? “Do we sign up for a lifetime of mediocre sex?” he asks. It’s obviously not the first time Raj has had sex, but the stakes are high.

the-big-bang-theory-season-12-episode-8-raj-leonard-howard.jpg

PHOTO: Sonja Flemming/CBS

The guys are not much help, so Raj joins Bernadette and Penny for wine time to mull it over. “She’s probably nervous, too,” Penny says. Raj doesn’t believe her, but that’s not the point. He’s worried he’s not as skilled as he’s made himself out to be in past sexual encounters. Plus, Anu is Indian as well, so she’s going to know there’s no position called the “screeching lotus.” (Oh, Raj.)

The weekend apparently comes very fast because in the next scene, Raj is in the hotel room and having a freakout with Penny over the phone. Penny tells Raj that her first time with Leonard wasn’t that great, which is a hilarious nod to Leonard’s earlier comments that their first time was so good he plays it over and over in his head. If that was supposed to make Raj feel better, it doesn’t.

Anu walks in—and in a tip of the hat to the Raj of years past, he suddenly can’t talk in the presence of a woman. Anu is understandably confused as Raj runs to the bathroom, shuts the door, and pops open a bottle of champagne.

When Raj later emerges—tipsy, of course—Anu wants to know what is going on. When Raj fails to tell her what the issue is, she says she’s going to leave. He begs her not to, but she demands the truth. “Oh, the truth is so not good for me,” he pleads before finally admitting that he used to be so insecure around women that he couldn’t talk. He assures Anu that he’s not that same person, but “I guess I wanted so much for tonight to go well that I stressed myself out.” What’s ironic is that Raj and Anu entered into this arranged relationship hoping to avoid the pitfalls of typical relationships, but also realizing they’re not fail-proof either.

the-big-bang-theory-raj-anu-season-12-episode-8.jpg

PHOTO: Sonja Flemming/CBS

Anu asks Raj why he didn’t tell her this before, but he admits he was embarrassed. Instead of saying “why?” or “that’s ridiculous,” she says, “I get it,” which both validates his feelings and creates another level of trust between them. “If it makes you feel better, I’ve got things I’m embarrassed about, too.” While I was hoping for a profound reveal from Anu, it turns out her “embarrassment” is simply that she doesn’t like music. “What kind of music?” Raj asks. “Just all of it,” she says.

The comic relief comes when Raj wants to know if Beyoncé is the exception—specifically “Single Ladies”—but Anu tells him that even she doesn’t make the cut. “My point is, we both have our little eccentricities,” she says. “Little eccentricities?” Raj wonders. “One is a deep-seeded psychological disturbance and the other can be solved by half a glass of chardonnay.” They laugh and immediately start making out. Have I mentioned I love these two?

The next morning, Raj is still wearing his same clothes, and it’s obvious all they did was stay up all night and talk. “Last night was wonderful,” Anu tells Raj. He’s a bit confused since the night didn’t go as planned, but she assures him that getting to know each other on a deeper level was great. Also, she assumes that the fact that he could talk to her all night—while in bed—is a good sign for their marriage. “Yeah, and my liver,” Raj jokes.

Raj then says maybe they should wait to have sex another time, but Anu has another plan. “Or, I take a shower and you decide how you want to play this,” she says. It takes a confused Raj a minute to realize exactly what Anu is implying until she pops her head out of the bathroom and instructs him to “take a shower with me, Raj!” He quickly jumps out of bed and joins Anu in the shower.

the-big-bang-theory-anu-raj-bed-season-12-episode-8.jpg

PHOTO: Sonja Flemming/CBS

By all accounts, perhaps Anu is too mature for Raj. Or perhaps Raj needs someone who appreciates Beyoncé in all her glory. But whatever the case, this feels real. And I’m here for it.

The Best Sexy Makeup Products

Before the days of Millennial pink packaging, free sticker sheets, and models embracing a “glowy, simple girl” aesthetic, there was another fail-safe way to bait shoppers into buying beauty: sex. The old Mad Men adage of “sex sells” might finally be waning from car commercials and cigarette ads, but if you look around makeup shelves, it’s—almost shockingly—still prevalent.

Brands like Nars and Too Faced have long made practice of naming their products something tantalizingly provocative. Desire, Deep Throat, Afterglow—at a certain point, you’d think it’d make a girl want a refractory period. But seeing the success of calling a pinky-peach blush “Orgasm” or claiming that a mascara is actually Better Than Sex, brands are continually trying to bank on the hope that a racy name will grab our eyes.

And yet, all the naming innuendos are comically thirsty right now. It’s transcended lipstick and blush, where sexy naming conventions got their start. Now, highlighter, eyeshadow, and even setting spray are bringing the conversation to the bedroom. Mascara names especially wouldn’t sound out of place in an erotic novel. Bad Gal Bang? Maneater? Climax? I haven’t had sex in months, but my makeup bag is raunchy AF.

On the flip side, the argument could be made that there’s nothing wrong about wanting to feel yourself. If having Orgasm on your cheeks puts you in damn good mood, why shouldn’t you partake in that pleasure? So for one week, I put all the sex-themed makeup to work with one question in mind: Does sexy makeup actually make you feel more sexy? Or is it all just a ridiculous marketing ploy to get you to buy more stuff?

Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show 2018: See Every Look

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is back—and back in New York—for 2018.

Though much of the program is kept tightly under wraps until the night of the taping (though the show was recorded on Thursday, November 8, it won’t air on ABC until December 2), there are a handful of things you can always expect from the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show: The brand’s Angels—Behati Prinsloo, Candice Swanepoel, Elsa Hosk, Jasmine Tookes, Josephine Skriver, Lais Ribeiro, Martha Hunt, Romee Strijd, Sara Sampaio, Stella Maxwell, Taylor Hill, and Adriana Lima (taking her final bow)—appear alongside dozens of other models on the glittery runway in different “segments,” where Victoria’s Secret’s signature bras are decked out according to themes.

A couple of this year’s segments, like the brand’s collaboration with British designer Mary Katrantzou and one featuring the million-dollar Fantasy Bra, were revealed ahead of time. The other six, though—which included a colorful Pink section and a celestial-inspired bit—were unveiled this evening in New York. There were eight total, each accompanied by a different performer: Bebe Rexha, The Chainsmokers, Halsey, Kelsea Ballerini, Rita Ora, Shawn Mendes, The Struts, and Leela James. Ahead of the taping, executive producer Ed Razek said in a statement: “The show is a year-long production, and 2018 promises to be our most ambitious yet,” with more musical guests and fashion than in the past.

See every look from the 2018 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show ahead of when the program is set to be broadcast in December.

Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade Announce Birth of Daughter via Surrogate

There’s nothing like surprise celebrity baby news to brighten up a day. On Thursday, November 8, Gabrielle Union took to social media to announce that she and her husband, NBA star Dwyane Wade, were the proud parents to a new baby girl. Their child was born the day before, November 7, via a surrogate.

Union has been extremely open about her struggles with infertility in the past, but the couple had kept the surrogacy private until she posted pictures of herself and Wade snuggling their new daughter. Along with some of the lyrics to Stevie Wonder’s “Lovely Day,” Union wrote, “A LOVELY DAY. We are sleepless and delirious but so excited to share that our miracle baby arrived last night via surrogate and 11/7 will forever be etched in our hearts as the most loveliest of all the lovely days. Welcome to the party sweet girl! #onelastdance #skintoskin @dwyanewade”

See the happy announcement, below:

The couple are already parents to Wade’s sons Zaire and Zion, from a previous relationship, and help raise Wade’s nephew Zahveon, and they’ve spoken publicly about the desire to have a child together. That wasn’t always the case, though. “I never wanted kids,” she said. “Then I became a stepmom, and there was no place I’d rather be than with them.”

In her book We’re Going to Need More Wine, Union opened up about her IVF treatments and revealed she had multiple miscarriages. “I have had eight or nine miscarriages,” she writes. “For three years, my body has been a prisoner of trying to get pregnant—I’ve either been about to go into an IVF cycle, in the middle of an IVF cycle, or coming out of an IVF cycle.” But she noted that she and Wade “remain bursting with love and ready to do anything to meet the child we’ve both dreamed of.”

Now, they have their “miracle baby” and celebrities and fans alike could not be happier for the couple. “What a blessing!!! I am so happy for you guys!!!” Janelle Monae commented on Union’s post. And director Ava Duvernay wrote, “How wonderful!” See just a few reactions, below:

Wade’s team, the Miami Heat, also weighed in and already have a baby gift ready.

Many congratulations to the happy family! We can’t wait to hear her name and see more photos.

Related: Gabrielle Union ‘Finally’ Got Answers About Her History of Miscarriages

Ariana Grande Just Made How She Feels About Her Engagement Very Clear

For the past week or so, Ariana Grande has been using music to comment on her split from Pete Davidson. She first started with “Thank U, Next”, the song she surprised-dropped last Saturday night that name-checks several of her exes, including the SNL comedian. “Even almost got married/and for Pete, I’m so thankful ,” she sings at the top of the track.

She followed this up with a performance of “Thank U, Next” on The Ellen Show that featured lots of wedding imagery, from a multi-tiered cake to reception tables and all white outfits. Because Davidson is the only ex we know of who almost married Grande, it’s safe to assume this was a nod to him.

But she just took her Davidson commentary out of the music and onto Instagram. The sleuthy account Comments by Celebs captured a rather savage reply Grande wrote on a Zoe Report post teasing the “13 tips & tricks for finding the perfect engagement ring.”

“Don’t,” Grande wrote with no capitalization or punctuations. Oof. Welp, that makes her opinion on her short-lived engagement to Davidson very clear.

Davidson and Grande confirmed their engagement over the summer but in mid-October news broke they had called things off. He’s since made several jokes about the situation in standup routines and on SNL. After he fake-proposed to singer Maggie Rogers as a joke for one of the show’s promos, Grande hit back on Twitter, posting (and later deleting), “For somebody who claims to hate relevancy u sure love clinging to it huh. Thank u, next.” Little did we know those last three words would be the title of the song heard (literally) around the world.

Related Stories:

Ariana Grande’s First Performance of “Thank U, Next” Is Clearly a Nod to Pete Davidson

Ariana Grande Just Trolled Herself So Hard

Here Is the Full, Confusing Saga of Ariana Grande and Pete Davidson’s Breakup