The secret of their success
Being a Victoria's secret angel is the pinnacle of a model's career, but it takes hours of make-up, fake tan and diets to be so perfect, says Katie Byrne
Men want to be with them, women want to be them -- the chorus of Victoria's Secret Angels elicits lust and envy in equal measure.
The beauties are considered a rare breed, "far rarer than superstar athletes", according to Edward Razek, the brand's marketing officer. But even then, these apparent paradigms of perfection have to embark on gruelling regimes and bizarre rituals to look preternaturally appealing. In reality, nobody looks like a Victoria's Secret model -- not even the Angels themselves . . .
>SOME USE BREAST ENHANCERS
Some Victoria's Secrets models give nature a helping hand by using breast enhancers, better known as 'chicken fillets'. "I do believe in chicken fillets," admitted British Angel, Rosie Huntingdon-Whiteley. "I'm not saying you have to use them, but if anyone knows me and sees me in a photoshoot, well, there are 'friends' in there. I've been known to have three in at a time for shoots -- plus padding."
>THEIR HAIR ISN'T ALWAYS THEIR OWN
The sexy, voluminous bedroom hair that the models rock on the runway is achieved using hair extensions and, sometimes, full wigs. Oribe, a former hair stylist for the brand, says it's about "making them women you can dream about".
>THEY'RE COVERED IN BODY MAKE-UP
Fact: all women have lumps and bumps, blemishes and bruises, stretch marks and cellulite. No woman has the perfect body. So how do the VS models achieve their seemingly flawless bodies? Full body make-up. Artists cover the models' entire bodies in thick layers of panstick and finish with iridescent moisturiser to create a glow. "It's all about creating the illusion of this amazing body on the runway," says Angel Selita Ebanks. "People don't realise that there are about 20 layers of make-up on my butt alone."
>THEY WEAR LAYERS OF FALSE TAN
Most of the Angels get their suntans from the bottle. In fact, tanning booths from the Bare Bronze range are reportedly stationed backstage at the shows. Angel Marisa Miller recommends fake tan for covering blemishes.
>THEY SPEND HOURS IN HAIR AND MAKE-UP
A crack squad of five people -- hair stylists, make-up artists and manicurists -- works on each of the 30-odd models to get them runway ready. Selita Ebanks estimates that the whole process -- including "butt make-up" -- takes three to five hours.
Every tip, trick and technique is employed in the Angel's make-up application, according to VS make-up artist Charlotte Tilbury. The cheekbones are heavily contoured, lipliner is applied just outside the lip border to "accentuate the pout" and three shades of eyeshadow, eyeliner, eyebrow pencil and false eyelashes are used to create "completely hypnotic" peepers.
>THEY DIET RELIGIOUSLY
Dutch model Doutzen Kroes admits that she has to work extra hard to keep her physique in shape.
>THEY WORK OUT FOR 12 WEEKS BEFORE THEY SHOOT A CATALOGUE
Daily workouts are essential for the models, but before a show or catalogue shoot they up the ante considerably. "From the start I say it takes 12 weeks to form the foundation and get a girl in shape to shoot a Victoria's Secret catalogue," says personal trainer Justin Gelband, known as 'The Model Whisperer'.
>THEIR IMAGES ARE AIRBRUSHED
VS images are routinely airbrushed before they appear in the catalogue. The mistakes made show how significantly they are altered. A picture of Marisa Miller modelling a polo shirt recently appeared on the brand's website.
In trying to slim down her arms, the airbrusher had inadvertently removed one of them completely, making her look like an amputee.
Another photo doing the rounds shows Angel Karolina Kurkova's real belly button, which is almost non-existent. But in all the VS shots it's perfect.
> . . . BUT SOME OF THEM ARE STILL UNHAPPY WITH THE WAY THEY LOOK
She's consistently voted one of the most beautiful women in the world, but Adriana Lima has revealed that she wants a bigger bottom. "I wish I had a bigger butt. When I was pregnant I had a much bigger booty and I was very happy with it." Talk about not counting your blessings.