Karlie Kloss opened up about why she left Victoria's Secret, and it's both empowering and inspiring. The 26-year-old started modeling for Victoria's Secret in 2011 and quit in 2015 when she started studying at New York University. But it wasn't because she was going to school that made her quit, but rather what she was learning.

Kloss said she quit working for the lingerie company after studying feminist theory at NYU's Gallatin School of Individualized Study. "The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria's Secret was I didn't feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful," Kloss told Vogue U.K.


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"S Moda: Karlie Kloss" by Studio Invisible is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


When it comes to feminism, Kloss doesn't just talk the talk, she walks the walk, and not just on the runway. "I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world," she continued.

Kloss has no regrets about her decision. "I think I was fearful that I would lose a job or lose my position if I said I didn't want to do something," Kloss said. "But I did not lose out on jobs. If anything, the more I exercised the power of my voice, the more I earned respect from my peers."


"Adidas: Karlie Kloss FW17" by Corey Jenkins is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


Confidence comes from inside, and Kloss said her decision made her feel better about who she is."I earned more respect for myself," she added. "Only now do I have the confidence to stand tall – all 6-foot-2-inches of me – and know the power of my voice."

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Kloss ultimately returned to the brand in 2017, but times had changed since her initial departure. The #MeeToo movement had gained momentum, and Kloss felt modeling for Victoria's Secret would now be empowering."There's something really powerful about a woman who owns her sexuality and is in charge," Kloss told The Telegraph in 2018. "A show like this celebrates that and allows all of us to be the best versions of ourselves. Whether it's wearing heels, makeup or a beautiful piece of lingerie — if you are in control and empowered by yourself, it's sexy."

It's not easy to turn your back on such a highly-coveted opportunity, but we applaud Kloss for (cat)walking away because of her convictions.

For the first time in its 56-year history, Sports Illustrated will feature a transgender model on its glossy cover. 23-year-old Brazilian model Valentina Sampaio will appear in the July issue, which hits stands early next week. Sampaio wrote on Instagram that she was "excited and honored" to be part of such an iconic issue, adding: "The team at SI has created yet another groundbreaking issue by bringing together a diverse set of multitalented, beautiful women in a creative and dignified way."

A native of Fortaleza, a city in northeastern Brazil, Sampaio has been making history in the fashion world in recent years. She was already the first trans model to make the 2017 cover of Vogue Paris. Scouted while she was a young teen, she quickly made her way onto key runways in her home country. She managed to make an impression in a short time— launching her career at 18 years old—as L'Oréal Paris's first trans model. She hit another milestone last year, when she was the face of Victoria's Secret campaign, breaking barriers as the first trans woman working with the brand.

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