Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Wisconsin chapter.

The words “real beauty” don’t usually make me think of women in elaborate lingerie, wearing giant angel wings. The words “real beauty” make me think of beautiful, healthy, and empowering women.
“Real beauty” is on my mind because on December 5th, the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show airs on TV. Millions of people tune in to watch their favorite models strut their stuff down a runway in lingerie, and see performances by their favorite music artists. This year includes Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga, and The Weekend. I love seeing Gigi Hadid’s pics on Instagram and Lily Donaldson’s photoshoots in magazines, and both these women will be seen walking in the 2016 Victoria Secret Fashion Show. I can’t wait to see what they’re going to wear. It’s fun watching these models during the show, walking in intricate outfits, specially-designed angel wings, and watching all the music performances. There’s always new runway themes every year, too, and I’m excited to see which themes the Victoria’s Secret team has chosen.
With all this excitement built around the fashion show, it’s easy to forget that “model beauty” and “Victoria’s Secret beauty” is different from “real beauty.” Victoria’s Secret beauty is thin, tall (The shortest model on their website is 5’9”), women with flawless skin, hair and nails done, a full face of makeup, and a perfectly waxed body. Real beauty goes beyond all this. Real beauty includes all body shapes, all skin types, and all heights. Real beauty is more than painted nails, done-up hair, and makeup.Real beauty is as hairy or hairless as you’d like.The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is entertaining to watch–it’s high energy and the models are beautiful and the outfits are extravagant. But it’s easy to forget that it’s not “ideal” to look like a VS model. It is ideal to look like yourself.

If you think of your favorite beautiful women, like Beyoncé, or Serena Williams, or JLAW. Or my mom (go mom!). These women are my fave and probably wouldn’t even make the cut for walking down the Victoria’s Secret runway. So, it’s OKAY to not look like Victoria’s Secret Angels.

For whatever reason, society idealizes the body types of Victoria’s Secret models. Some women are born with tall, thin frames, and some women aren’t. Society needs to recognize that all body types are beautiful. Plus, most of the models who walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show work incredibly hard to get their bodies to look the way they do.

Many of them work out seven days a week, twice a day, and have personal trainers and take workout classes at specialized gyms. Gigi Hadid and other Victoria’s Secret models are known to go to Gotham Gym, and Karlie Kloss and Lily Aldridge and others go to ModelFit, according to Vogue. A month membership for Gotham Gymis around $100, and ModelFit is $40 for just ONE class, not including tax! Many of the models also have their own nutritionists, go on juice cleanses, or cut certain things out of their diet, like carbs. I feel sad imagining a life without pasta and bread. I think it’s also safe to say that many of these models have personal chefs and frequently go out to eat or order food in.Basically, the point of this is to say that your life is not the life of a Victoria’s Secret model, and it would be a struggle time-wise and financially to try and live a lifestyle like theirs. Between taking academic classes, working a job, studying, going to club meetings and social events, there’s just no way the average college student would have the time to work out twice-a day, seven days a week. Also, while paying college tuition and not receiving a full-time salary, taking classes at Gotham Gym and ModelFit and having a personal trainer would have most college bank accounts crying. Plus, certain diets can cut out essential nutrients, so it’s important to make sure that your diet isn’t negatively benefitting your health. Going on juice cleanses, having a personal nutritionist, and ordering in food all the time is extremely expensive, too.The American Heart Association recommends just thirty minutes of working out a day, for five days a week–so working out twice a day, seven days a week is completely unnecessary. And you don’t have to break the bank, or go on a strict diet to eat healthy. I do have hope that the world is changing and that just one body type is not idealized. Model Ashley Graham was cast as the cover model of Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition this year, and she’s not the same size as the models walking down the Victoria’s Secret runway. And she looked sexy and beautiful and healthy on the Sports Illustrated cover, showing off her amazing curves. Aerie by American Eagle is also celebrating real beauty in their “Aerie Real” campaign which doesn’t retouch photos and uses models of all different shapes and sizes. Every body type is beautiful and sexy, and women need to stop trying to fit just one mold. 

It is important to work out and eat heathy, because your personal wellness is super important. But it’s more important to know that you don’t need to look like the models you see when you’re scrolling on your Instagram. Don’t kill yourself trying to run a million miles and going to cardio classes every single day. Do what you can and if you can’t workout one day, for whatever reason, that’s okay! If you can’t work out for a whole week, that’s okay! Don’t punish yourself for not working out every day and eating a burger (or three!).Work out and eat right because you love yourself and your body, not because you want to look like a Victoria’s Secret model. Trying to look like these women can easily become unhealthy–constantly comparing yourself to them hurts your self-esteem and confidence, and working out too much and eating less than you need isn’t doing yourself any favors. 
If seeing those “perfect” women on Instagram everyday makes you feel self-conscious about your body, UNFOLLOW THEM. If you feel like you are having trouble balancing your workout with your diet, try to read health blogs and articles, and maybe even go talk to your doctor or a nutritionist a few times. Be careful with what health blogs and articles you choose, because you don’t want to follow one that suggests an unhealthy lifestyle. I suggest reading Her Campus Health articles, because they’re empowering, relatable, encourage a healthy lifestyle, and written by healthy college women and not fitness/diet junkies.The Victoria’s Secret Annual Fashion Show is entertaining and the models work their butts off to get a spot on that runway, but it’s their full-time job to look like that! Real beauty is looking like yourself, and being healthy in your life, in your own way. It’s easy to get caught up in looking like a Victoria’s Secret Angel, but you already look like an angel, so stop sweating it. Not all angels wear wings–some angels go to class all week, live for weekend drink deals, and eat whole boxes of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting-just saying! Never forget that just because you don’t look like someone, doesn’t mean you’re any less beautiful! #BeYourself!

Madison is a senior at the University of Wisconsin pursuing a major in English Literature with minors in Entrepreneurship and Digital Media Studies. Post college, Madison plans to complete her dreams of being the next Anna Wintour. In her free time, Madison enjoys listening to Eric Hutchinson, eating dark chocolate, and FaceTiming her puppies back home. When she isn't online shopping, or watching YouTube bloggers (ie Fleur DeForce), Madison loves exploring the vast UW Campus and all it has to offer! She is very excited to take this next step in her collegiette career as Campus Correspondent and Editor-in-Chief for HC Wisco. On Wisconsin!