Even before appearing on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Season 9 contestant Peppermint has always been an outspoken advocate for the trans community. She publicly came out as trans before appearing on Drag Race, and has dedicated plenty of her time following the show to work with and for her community.
That activism fueled a post on the star’s Instagram over the weekend, when she called out Victoria’s Secret chief marketing officer Ed Razek for his insensitive comments about plus-sized and transgender models; Razek said in an interview with Vogue that he was not interested in having trans or plus-sized models on the runway of the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. “‘Shouldn’t you have transsexuals in the show?’” he said people would ask him. “No. No, I don’t think we should…because the show is a fantasy. It’s a 42-minute entertainment special.”
Peppermint first tweeted about the scandal after Razek issued a formal apology via the lingerie brand’s Twitter account. “Oh Vicky, it’s new age of accountability. You’ve passed on the opportunity already,” she wrote. “No one’s forcing you to cast transfolk so please don’t tokenize or patronize. IF inclusion & diversity is important, it’ll be evident from now on.”
In his apology, Razek said that he recognized his comments were insensitive, while backpedaling on the idea that trans models were purposefully kept out of the show. “To be clear, we absolutely would cast a transgender model for the show,” he wrote. “We’ve had many transgender models come to castings…and like many others, they didn’t make it…but it was never about gender.”
But the Head Over Heels star was far from finished. Posting a screenshot of her tweet on Instagram, Peppermint expanded upon her thoughts. “I believe companies have the right to make any casting choices they want, I also believe we have a right to express how we feel about these choices,” she said. “Victoria’s Secret is a household name, I believe they have more to gain and less to lose by being more INCLUSIVE with their casting.”
Along with criticizing the company’s handling of the controversy, Peppermint also offered them some advice on how to address the real problem at hand. “An ALTERNATIVE to saying that plus size and transgender bodies are not attractive or marketable enough to put in their fashion shows,” she wrote, “s RECOGNIZING that these AMERICANS are a growing demographic that also need to buy and wear underwear.”
Check out Peppermint’s full statement below.
I believe companies have the right to make any casting choices they want, I also believe we have a right to express how we feel about these choices. Victoria’s Secret is a household name, I believe they have more to gain and less to lose by being more INCLUSIVE with their Casting. If our country has become more diverse, surely their customer base has also changed. it would be nice to see them acknowledge that. An ALTERNATIVE to Saying that plus size and transgender bodies are not attractive or marketable enough to put in their fashion shows is RECOGNIZING that these AMERICANS are a growing demographic that also need to buy and wear underwear #vsfashionshow2018 #VictoriasSecret