Sofia Jirau has always been about living life with “no limits.”
Recently, she blazed the trails when she became the first-ever Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome.
The 24-year-old Puerto Rican officially made history after joining 17 other dynamic women in promoting Love Cloud, the brand’s newest underwear collection centered around all-day comfort.
“One day I dreamt it, I worked at it and today it’s a dream come true. I can finally share my big secret,” Jirau wrote on her Instagram in Spanish, alongside a black and white photo of herself sporting a bra from the company. “I am the first Victoria’s Secret model with Down syndrome!”
Jirau joins a lineup of professional and non-professional models of all skin tones, sizes, and ages. Famous personalities like Hailey Bieber, Adut Akech, and Taylor Hill are also part of the campaign.
Jirau is also the second Puerto Rican model featured in a Victoria’s Secret campaign. The first was supermodel Joan Smalls, who made her runway debut in 2011.
Jirau, with her undeniable charisma and infectious personality, has come a long way since starting her modeling career in 2019 in her home country.
She runs her own online store, “Alavett,” a Spanish-English play on the words “I love it,” Jirau’s favorite phrase. She sells everything from wallets and shirts to phone cases and mugs printed with the signature brand name and a heart doodle.
In February 2020, Jirau was one of the few models with Down syndrome to walk in New York Fashion Week.
“When I was little, I looked myself in the mirror and said, ‘I’m going to be a model and a businesswoman,’” she told PEOPLE magazine at the time.
She also launched “No Limits,” a Spanish-language campaign that aims to show that people with Down syndrome can achieve their goals despite their condition.
People with Down syndrome are born with an extra chromosome, which leads to changes in how the body and brain develop. This effect could cause both mental and physical challenges.
“Thank you Victoria’s Secret for seeing me as a model who has #NoLimits and making me part of the inclusive Love Cloud Collection campaign,” Jirau wrote on Instagram. “Inside and out, there are no limits, Alavett!”
In social media, Jirau emphasizes that her goal is to encourage people to go after their dreams.
“I always say ‘Inside and out there are no limits’ to motivate people to break through their self-imposed limitations,” the model writes on her website.
Jirau joins the giant intimates retailer during a critical period, as the company has decided to part with its once-iconic Victoria’s Secret “Angels” in ongoing attempts to rebrand itself to appeal to all types of women.
Last summer, the company signaled that it would focus on creating lingerie for women of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds. The “Angels,” the long-standing name for the brand’s supermodels, was dropped to make way for the “VS Collective,” an ambassador program featuring seven women known for their advocacies, including actress Priyanka Chopra Jonas and soccer player Megan Rapinoe.
“When the world was changing, we were too slow to respond,” said Victoria’s Secret chief executive Martin Waters last year. “We needed to stop being about what men want and to be about what women want.”
The latest campaign is the brand’s first full-scale collection launch since Raúl Martinez assumed the head creative director role in January.
“Love Cloud Collection is a major moment in the brand’s evolution,” Martinez said in a statement. “From the cast of incredible women that bring the collection to life, to the incredible inclusive spirit on set, this campaign is an important part of the new Victoria’s Secret standard we are creating.”
Jirau shared a video of the campaign on Instagram before the collection hit stores. In the clip, she can be seen wearing a bra in her favorite color, pink.
“I love it, I love it. Victoria’s Secret, I love it!” she said.
Congratulations, Sofia, on this incredible milestone!