If you're anything like me, you spent the latter half of Thanksgiving week gorging yourself on turkey and cranberry sauce, sweet potatoes, a few bricks of stuffing and assorted pies for dessert. But you know who is nothing like me? Victoria's Secret Angel Adriana Lima. I know this because A) I have never gone by the nickname "The Voluptuous Virgin" before giving birth to Serbian basketball player Marko Jarić's child B) I have never donned any sort of 1500-carat black diamond-encrusted Fantasy Bra valued at over $8 million and C) Unlike me, Lima's Thanksgiving dinner entailed no solid foods. The 30-year-old supermodel told The Daily Telegraph that for nine days before a VS runway show -- the 2011 version aired Tuesday night -- the only thing to pass her lips are powdered egg-enriched protein shakes. These filling concoctions allegedly fuel her twice-a-day workouts. Twelve hours pre-show, she stops drinking liquids entirely, a tactic which often results in a loss of up to eight pounds. "I just have an athlete's mind," she explained.
I'm sorry but... exactly what type of athlete might that be? As far as I know, one needs fuel to perform. I'm surprised Lima could muster up the strength to strap on a pair of stilettos, let alone tromp around in a giant pair of 50-lb. angel wings.
VS shares a long and sordid history with athletics. Last year's runway boasted a double entendre "Knock Out" boxing theme, inspired by the two-a-days Lima, Karolina Kurkova and Doutzen Kroes were all doing with former No. 1-ranked middleweight contender Michael Olajide, Jr. Somehow, though, I doubt I'll see Laila Ali sporting this kind of look in the near future. While the brand's Sexy Sports line of workout apparel appears to serve the basic functions of containing one's breasts and wicking away sweat, I've never once had the urge to lick my dumbbells between sets, lift weights barefoot or spar in silver lame boxing gloves. (OK, maybe I'd try and give that last one a whirl.)
The VS team produced a few videos showcasing sample workouts of angels like Lindsay Ellingson and Doutzen Kroes, and I'll admit, certain aspects of the routines do seem challenging. But the fact that the women appear to be carefully made up and styled to within an inch of their lives detracts from their credibility, and Lima's recent admission that she stops eating weeks before a show kind of puts a damper on the whole "Look! We really are athletes!" vibe.
I'd never want to discourage women from working out or dis their routine for somehow not being good enough. But the bottom line is, while I love their Tall-length leggings and Hanky Panky knockoffs, I have a major chip on my shoulder when it comes to Victoria's Secret. Perhaps it's because, as a body image writer, I know the incredible amount of airbrushing that must go into each issue -- a process which results in a slew of wholly unattainable images that only serve to make everyday women feel like crap about themselves. (I've written before about the fate of the VS catalogs that stubbornly appear in my mailbox week after week.) Reading Lima's dietary confession only served to intensify the bitter taste in my mouth. I'll continue to wear their perfume, as Rapture has become my signature scent over the past decade and I don't want to confuse the olfactory senses of friends and family, but Lima attempting to elevate her disordered eating tactics to those of a real competitor is, at best, insulting to athletes; at worst, it's dangerous and triggering to real women.