Sara Sampaio Talks Her Nipple Showdown With Lui & Why Victoria's Secret Is A Feminist Brand

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Sara Sampaio Talks Her Nipple Showdown With Lui & Why Victoria's Secret Is A Feminist Brand

Top model and Victoria's Secret Angel Sara Sampaio is fired up and ready to roll, interviewed for the March 23, 2018 issue of Porter Edit. Sampaio is well on the way to establishing herself as an activist voice for a new generation of models. 

“Models are expected to show up on set, just be pretty, do our job and not say a word,” the Portugese beauty explains. “When we do open our mouths, we’re branded as difficult, opinionated, troublemakers; we are told that we don’t know what we are talking about.” Pointing out that women out earn men in modeling, Sara insists that "we are still not respected. We are still exploited. And it’s such a disposable industry that girls feel like they can’t say anything, because there will be some other girl out there who will just do it.”

Sampaio regularly leverages her more than 10 million followers on social media to use her voice and “hold people accountable”. In 2017, the firebrand used Instagram to call out French magazine Lui after it published revealing pictures of her. AOC wrote about this situation, and we were honestly confused. Sampaio uses her Porter Edit interview to clarify her view of what happened.

David Bellemere Reminds Me Why I'm An American Woman Charmed But Not Seduced By French Men

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David Bellemere Reminds Me Why I'm An American Woman Charmed But Not Seduced By French Men

I am so disgusted with photographer David Bellemere tonight, that I regret having written such positive words about his sensual images over the years.  AOC is probably one of the most beautiful repositories of his work on the Internet.

Even though I come out of the Victoria's Secret organization, this ardent feminist was circumspect in writing about the recent Lui magazine controversy between VS Angel Sara Sampaio and Bellemere. Sampaio might even accuse me of siding with Bellemere, in spite of my expressed neutrality, and I would understand her accusation. 

The #MeToo movement had broken in America by the end of October when Sara Sampaio took issue with her photographic experience with David Bellemere, and I listed a few #MeToos of my own that are quite serious as sexual assault experiences go. The memories have never doused my appreciation for men, although I no longer tolerate nonsense -- only because life is too short, and I am a lovely woman in every aspect. 

At this moment I am so angry with David Bellemere, I will have to sleep on my response to his comments to WWD about the explosive Boston Globe story on sexual harassment and aggression among fashion photographers. Bellemere is named in a detailed, front page story that has already impacted his career. I note, though, that VS ended their relationship with Bellemere over complaints about his behavior from the models and Angels, many of whom also consider themselves to be feminists. It's not a word we throw around, but we will all use it especially in this #MeToo moment. 

I am using the word 'feminist' because Bellemere has used it. He has dropped the gauntlet, and so will I. There will be no neutrality now on my attitude about David Bellemere. His comments brought back a night in my life and an essay I wrote several years ago about my limited experiences with French men -- which have never been favorable in a romantic sense. 

These are Bellemere's comments, published in WWD, that have really pissed me off. I will continue this dialogue after some reflections. 

“There is due process. We have something called justice here. We have been walking on it since the [beginning] of the story of humanity. We are not savages in the Middle Ages. If you have any proof, you bring the proof,” Bellemere said. “Today if a feminist says, ‘He’s guilty,’ everybody is going to believe he’s guilty.”

At 45, the twice-divorced photographer pointed to his middle-age status and said he doesn’t own anything. “They are destroying people. They are destroying lives. My [15-year-old] daughter is crying. It’s too much. I’m going to lose everything. I’m not like Patrick Demarchelier or all of those (older) guys who have a career that is finished."

Bellemere makes the suggestion that the photographer not be alone with the model -- which I think is a good idea. At the end of the shoot, he proposes that everyone sign a report that everyone was well-behaved. The objective would be to “prove that all as been done under respect or without misbehavior,” Bellemere said (to WWD). “This is to avoid lies and problems. We have to sit around the table and write it down together. I want this war to end between feminists and the industry. We are wasting too much talent.”

In all my time in the fashion industry, in all the sad experiences I've had with men -- ones Bellemere probably agrees with, like the experience I narrate below -- I have never been so goddess-damned resentful of a statement. I have championed male photographers for a decade, including David Bellemere, although working with female photographers is so much easier. But for him to condemn feminism and the #MeToo movement -- which suggests he has no problem with the Harvey Weinsteins of the world -- that is a reflection of the masculine arrogance and self-importance that has launched what is a seismic #MeToo movement. 

In reality, these utterly stupid and self-destructive comments by Bellemere about feminism and our failure to understand and nourish creative talent suggests that he has a Pablo Picasso complex. Well, I'm not having it one minute longer from David Bellemere and I regret the mountains of praise that I've heaped on him for a decade. ~ Anne

Previously:  'An American Woman Charmed But Not Seduced By French Men

I’m not one of those American women who throws herself on the sidewalks of Paris, saying “please, please like me, mighty Parisians.”  But it is true that France has always inspired me in what I wish America could be more of — a country with a passion for living well in mind, body and with beauty.  As a key executive with Victoria’s Secret for 10 years, lastly as the head of product development and then fashion director, I’ve long embraced France’s approach to living in touch with one’s senses.

Boston Globe Writes Fashion Industry Sexual Expose On Patrick Demarchelier, Greg Kadel, David Bellemere, Karl Templer & More Model Aggression

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Boston Globe Writes Fashion Industry Sexual Expose On Patrick Demarchelier, Greg Kadel, David Bellemere, Karl Templer & More Model Aggression

In what is becoming a fashion industry #MeToo moment, The Boston Globe released their investigation of sexual assault and misconduct accusations against at least 25 photographers, agents, stylists, and casting directors including Patrick Demarchelier, David Bellemere, Greg Kadel, Seth Sabal, Karl Templer and more. 

Models offering testimony include Abbey Lee, RJ King, Myla Dalbesio, Chloe Hayward and more prominent names in the industry. 

One of the industry's most prominent voices Coco Rocha told the Globe's Spotlight team that when she refused to get naked on the set at age 16, the photographer replaced her with a girl younger and more obedient. Months later, another famous photographer simulated an orgasm as he took her picture.

On her first test shoot at age 15, Dasha Alexander said the photographer held the camera in one hand and digitally penetrated her with his other. The move would make the pictures more "raw" and "sensual". I find this move laughable because a woman's sensuality is much more innate. If anything, the photographer would inspire raw fear -- unless the model was in full agreement with the gesture. If the photographer didn't ask her in advance about this digital penetration, he is guilty of sexual assault. 

David Bellemere Captures A Sexy Valery Kaufman In Paris For Numéro #190 February 2018

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Model Valery Kaufman strikes super femme poses, styled by Vanessa Metz in Paris as Pont Alexandre III, widely regarded as the most ornate, extravagant bridge in the city. David Bellemere captures Valery for Numéro #190 February 2018./ Hair by Ben Skervin; makeup by Kate Synnot