Today is Alessandra Ambrosio‘s 33rd birthday, and every time one of the Victoria’s Secret Angels has a birthday or a baby, I am shocked that these women pretend to age like normal humans. If aliens from a planet without lingerie or a gender binary dropped to earth, you could explain the concept of sexy in about 30 seconds. Or, roughly the run time of a Victoria’s Secret TV slot. The women who get to wear the Victoria’s Secret Angel wings are, whether 16 or 35, the most recognizable representations of “sexy” known to man.
Even seasoned catwalkers like Karlie Kloss flip their shit when they get tapped as Angels. There have only been 25 Angels ever, including the current 8. They are consistently the top-earning models in the world, commanding salaries in the millions while even well known high fashion models can get paid in designer handbags. And if we were going to crack under the weight of the patriarchy and admit that there is, in fact, an ideal standard of female beauty to which we should all sacrifice our souls to attain, you could pick any single one of these women as an example. I’d also like to point out that RELATIVE TO THE RUNWAY, Victoria’s Secret does pretty well with racial diversity and healthy looking models.
Even among the ridiculously good looking stable of Vicky’s models, only a select few are chosen to be Angels. Even fewer last as long as Alessandra. If I were ever magically gifted with wings, you would have to pry them from my cold, dead hands. I’m less shocked by the lengthy track records of thirty-something-year-old Angels than I am by the fact that anyone would willingly give them up.
The longest walking Angels might surprise you. Miranda Kerr, for example, only worked with the brand from 2007-2013. Selita Ebanks, Izabel Goulart, Rosie Huntington-Whitely… famous, sure, but all babies with three or four years in their wings. Even Marisa Miller, one of the oldest models to rock Angel wings, only spent a few years with the company.
These seven have careers that most models would kill for, including the most years working the legendary Angel wings and all those epic Fantasy bras.
1. Adriana Lima, 32, 14 years (15 with VS)
Adriana Lima is already the official longest running Victoria’s Secret Angel ever, and she hasn’t retired yet. How long? 80s supermodel Stephanie Seymour walked in her first VS show. Lima looks almost exactly the same, supporting my theory that she survives on the blood of your boyfriend’s still beating heart.
2. Heidi Klum, 40, 13 Years (left VS at 37)
Once the longest walking Victoria’s Secret Angel ever, outstripped (heh) by Adriana Lima. Literally nicknamed “The Body” for years with a bra line to match, an honor I am less likely to achieve than I am likely to be hit by a train.
3. Alessandra Ambrosio, 33, 10 years (14 with VS)
We compiled this list in honor of her birthday, but the unbelievably toned mom of two and first spokesmodel for the PINK line still comes in third place.
4. Tyra Banks, 40, 8 Years (OG Angel, baby, left VS at 32)
Like it or not, Tyra’s supermodel status with Victoria’s Secret is still a big deal for women of color and women with curves, not to mention for models with dreams past the catwalk. Tyra is everything you want in a lingerie model. Sexy, bold, a little insane. Put her on Vogue. It’s time.
5. Gisele Bundchen, 33, 7 Years (left VS at 27)
Gisele is the kind of supermodel that just didn’t exist after the nineties, notable for making the jump from runway to editorial to lingerie and back. She’s covered Vogue multiple times, as a model and a celebrity in her own right.
6. Karolina Kurkova, 30, 6 years (11 with VS, left VS at 27)
Because no one has morals when it comes to ridiculously good looking, well developed teenagers, Karolina Kurkova walked her first VS lingerie show when she was 16. She flies lower under the radar than her fellow Angels, so it’s easy to forget that she walked longer than Miranda Kerr, Tyra, or Gisele, if you count her years without wings.
7. Doutzen Kroes, 29, 6 years (10 with VS)
Another heavy hitter that covers magazines like Vogue, Elle, and Harper’s, and crossed over into beauty with a L’Oreal contract. She’s also spoken out more than once about unhealthy body standards and being a larger than sample size model. I’m not the one that decided someone with a body like hers is bigger than the industry norm. I’m just stating facts.
In an industry that spent the past decade or so featuring nameless young models that were all but interchangeable, it’s a nice change to see Victoria’s Secret keeping models around long enough to make huge names for themselves. A single moniker female millionaire is a female millionaire, whether she makes her fortune in a gajillion dollar diamond bra or running the internet.
For all the looks worn in 2014′s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, including some worn by these wonderful models, click here!
All images courtesy of Getty Images unless otherwise noted.