Dark side of Victoria’s Secret catwalk – from Kendall’s 400 calorie diet and fights backstage to the VS ‘curse’

And last night's glitzy event once again lived up to the hype.

Sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid walked together in skimpy tartan two-pieces, while Kendall Jenner dazzled in a black barely-there two piece and Rita Ora performed her hits.

However, behind the glamour lies a much darker side to the VS show.

Some of the women participating have claimed they've gone on starvation diets, insiders talk of vicious rivalries and fights backstage and models being shamed for making mistakes.

Here we reveal the ruthless nature and panic-inducing other side of the shows.

400 calories-a-day

Before her debut as a VS Angel in 2015, it was reported in US publication Radar Online that Kendall Jenner reportedly lived on 400 calories a day, just 20 per cent of the recommended 2,000 calorie intake for women, while trying to keep up with the modelling industry.

An insider then told Now Magazine that when Kendall got her place in the show, she was only "happy for 10 minutes before going into panic mode" and starving herself further.

Adriana Lima has revealed the punishing lengths she goes to to get her body ready for shows.

Her body’s muscle mass, fat ratio and levels of water retention are measured by a nutritionist, who prescribes a course of vitamins, supplements and protein shakes.

During the gruelling training period, Lima drinks a gallon of water a day. Nine days before the show starts, she only drinks powdered egg protein shakes.

Two days before the show, her gallon of water is cut to just a ‘normal’ water intake.

Finally, 12 hours before the show starts, she will abstain from drinking anything at all, saying you can "lose up to eight pounds just from that."

Weekly body inspections

Former Angel Erin Heatherton told Time Magazine that she was pressured to drop weight before her appearances in 2012 and 2013.

She said, “[For] my last two Victoria’s Secret shows, I was told I had to lose weight. I look back like, really?”

Although she was eating healthily and exercising twice a day, Heatherton’s body was “resisting” her.

“I got to a point where one night I got home from a workout and I remember staring at my food and thinking maybe I should just not eat.”

A backstage show insider told Now: “the pressure’s on like you can’t imagine. Every single inch of their body is inspected on an almost weekly basis and they’re weighed twice a week if they’ve a significant amount of weight to lose.

“It’s also been rumoured that in the past models have relied on appetite-suppressing drugs and extreme diets.”

You will train – and it is going to hurt

According to stylist Phillip Bloch, the Angels subject themselves to “severe” workouts ahead of the fashion show.

Angels must be five foot nine, have a waist of 24 inches or less and a body fat percentage lower than 18 – most women have between 25 and 31 per cent body fat.

To achieve this, the girls work out six times a week, for at least an hour in the run up. Favourites include Pilates, boxing, barre classes and Brazilian butt lift classes.

Despite these mega fitness regimes, some would-be Angels still don’t make the cut.

In 2014, Gigi Hadid faced rejection, although she went on to walk the following year.

Her mother Yolanda said, “Gigi worked so hard to get the Victoria’s Secret show.

“She was boxing every day and in great shape – and it seemed like a perfect fit. But it ended up not to be.”

Catfights, tantrums and tears

All the girls want to be the one to wear the Fantasy Bra, a jewel-encrusted creation, was worn this year by Elsa Hosk and worth a whopping £750,000.

“To say there isn’t any rivalry among the girls is laughable. There have been tears and tantrums and it’s become a huge competition among them for top dog,” an insider revealed to Celebs Now.

When Lily Aldridge wore the Fantasy Bra in 2015, the insider said, “Lily got a ton of attention and that made a number of girls resentful of her. You could feel the claws come out when she walked into rehearsal.

Mistakes to humiliate and haunt

Infamous howlers at the show include Elsa Hosk’s fluffy wings clouting Ariana Grande in the head, nearly knocking her out, and when animal rights’ group PETA crashed the runway during the 2002 show.

During last year’s show in Shanghai, Chinese model Ming Xi fell over onstage, the first time in Victoria's Secret history.

It’s truly baffling that this hadn’t happened before as floaty, trailing capes and skyscraper heels aren’t usually the best combination.

Ming managed to deal with her tumble with remarkable composure, however, Victoria’s Secret used footage of her sobbing backstage in the final cut.

Some viewers saw its inclusion as “a mean-spirited pile-on to a model who clearly already felt embarrassed.”

Catwalk's curse

Several high-profile celeb couples have split while one half was working as an Angel, leading to suggestions of a VS curse.

There have even been awkward moments on the catwalk between Angels and their former partners.
Bella Hadid and The Weeknd had recently broken up for a second time when she walked in the 2016 VS Fashion Show, where her ex was also performing.

Former Angel Miranda Kerr divorced Orlando Bloom in 2013, the same year she stopped modelling as an Angel.

Last year, Alessandra Ambrossio and fiancé Jamie Mazur also decided to call it quits, and in 2018, Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik split for a couple of months before reuniting.

Could the gruelling training schedules and diets be driving the Angels from their partners?

Going native

The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show has also come under fire for cultural appropriation.

Back in 2012, Angel Karlie Kloss apologised for appearing on the catwalk in a full Native American war bonnet.

But there was no indication that lessons were learned from this, as last year various models walked the runway in Native American-inspired get-ups during a section entitled Nomadic Adventures.

Austrian model Nadine Leopold was decked out in a headdress that looked remarkably like a war bonnet.

‘BS’ or VS

Bridget Malcom, who walked for the brand in 2015 and 2016, apologised on her blog earlier this year for giving unsound dietary advice in interviews.

She revealed her battle with body dysmorphia, where sufferers become obsessed with real or perceived flaws in their appearance, and that this illness was diagnosed after she left Victoria’s Secret.

In a now-deleted tweet, ex-angel Jourdan Dunn blasted the show, calling it “BS”.

But detractors of the model immediately suggested that her comments were prompted by anger at not being selected for the 2015 show.

The underwear may hold an expensive price tag, but as is evident from the backstories behind the glitz, there's often a far greater cost.

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