Bella Hadid revealed that she 'never felt powerful' walking the Victoria's Secret runway shows

bella hadidFrazer Harrison/Getty Images

Bella Hadid took a subtle, possibly inadvertent dig at Victoria's Secret while speaking at the Vogue Fashion Festival in Paris on Friday.

In an interview with film director Loïc Prigent and in front of an audience of hundreds of people, the 23-year-old model said that she had "never felt powerful" modeling lingerie on a runway show until she worked with Rihanna and modeled her Savage X Fenty collection at New York Fashion Week, WWD reported.

"Rihanna's amazing. For me, that was the first time on a runway that I felt really sexy. Because when I first did Fenty, I was doing other lingerie shows and I never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear," she told Prigent, according to WWD.

Bella has previously walked three runway shows for Victoria's Secret along with her sister Gigi. The duo first modeled in Rihanna's show at New York Fashion Week in September 2018. They also walked in her show in 2019.

When Rihanna's show debuted in 2018, the internet was lit up with excitement. The show featured models of all shapes, sizes, and ethnic backgrounds, including two pregnant women, one of whom reportedly went into labor after the show. While it had the raciness of a Victoria's Secret runway show, fans applauded Rihanna for promoting body inclusivity and acceptance, something that Victoria's Secret had been accused of lacking in the past.

This year, Rihanna partnered with Amazon to stream the show on Prime Video, enabling her to reach a wider audience and take greater aim at Victoria's Secret's large customer base in the US.

Meanwhile, Victoria's Secret pulled back on its annual runway show this year (it is not clear whether it will run next year) after saying that it was "rethinking" the show. It had previously aired on network TV and drawn millions of viewers every year but in the past few years, its ratings had been on the decline and it was facing increasingly scrutiny from critics for failing to represent diversity and inclusivity.

Victoria's Secret has made some significant steps to address the brand image and its sliding sales numbers in the past year, including hiring its first transgender model and trimming its workforce.

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