What is an icon? Nowadays this powerful word gets tossed around with increasing frequency, attached to
everything from designers to watches, even cheese. Historically the word was most often aligned with a
representation of someone sacred; in more modern times it's broadened vastly to include anyone remotely
worthy of admiration because of something they are a symbol of (see Madonna as pop music icon, Carolyn
Bessette Kennedy as style icon, Rihanna as both). But the word icon itself comes from the Greek eikona, which
means image. And image, and the shaping of it, is a topic that the women we deem so iconic, they're known on
a first-name basis—Naomi, Gisele, Adriana, Paloma, Adut, Candice, Hailey, Emily, are intimately familiar with.
Here, our very own VS icons on what makes one.
WHAT MAKES AN ICON....
"To me, it's a woman who is unapologetically herself, someone who stands in her power and who is able to
influence other people not only with beauty but with her spirit."
“Someone who is just fearless. A woman who just does what it is that she wants to do and doesn't give
a crap about outside noise and has class and bravery. And is unapologetic. That's it. That's an icon to me.”
"A woman who knows what she wants, loves what she does, and does it with full and 100% conviction and
"Being able to feel comfortable in your own skin and embrace your own uniqueness."
"l think it's the way someone carries herself. A woman who really knows who she is and who loves herself."
"Somebody who can stand the test of time. Somebody who, generations later, is remembered and regarded
and respected and referenced for years and years and years to come."
"Someone who's made an imprint in their own specific kind of way. A legend, someone who is irreplaceable
and one of a kind."
"l think what makes an icon is a level of timelessness and to be linked to something that feels sacred."
WHAT MAKES YOU ICONIC....
"I have such a lust for life and I'm so curious about so many different things. I Ive built such a beautiful life aside
from my glamorous fashion life. I have two beautiful kids, a business, amazing people around me... I feel very blessed. "
"That I'm just me, and I do what I want to do and I don't let anybody tell me otherwise. I'm the main character in
my own world."
"Being able to break that barrier of being the first on many publications in my career and pushing the culture
forward, even though I didn't realize at the time that that's what was happening. But the most important thing
I've ever done in my life has been becoming a mother."
"l really have been influenced by people who carve their own path and do things their way. And that has always
been something that's been really important to me, as a young person and now, as a mom. I think that's what
makes me iconic."
'What makes me iconic largely is my ability to storytell and promote vulnerability. I think that's what ultimately
has made me iconic, and it's something that I'm proud of."
WHO IS YOUR GREATEST ICON...
"This would have to be my mother. She is the most fearless and bravest woman that I know. And anything she
puts her mind to, she'll get it done. Again, unapologetically. She's a boss."
"In my eyes, all women are icons."
"My grandmother. She was beautiful and strong and she did everything: she grew food, she took care of nine
kids, she was a medicine woman who knew everything about plants so anytime I got sick, she always had a
solution. I always felt like when I was around her, nothing could go wrong. I wouldn't be here if it weren't for her
and my mom. I honor all the wonderful women who came before me, and made it possible for me to be here
today enjoying this beautiful life. They're my icons."
"My Nana. She has taught me so much and she just has such an iconic personality, an amazing, warm, and hilarious person."
"For the really important years of my life and my adolescence, it was Patti Smith. I was really fascinated by the
culture of New York City and the time that she was with Robert Mapplethorpe, and I just love that she had done
her own thing in such a specific way. And that she continues to do that."
YOUR MOST ICONIC MOMENT WITH VS...
"A very special moment was opening the show in China when I was three months pregnant with my second
son. It was incredible to be in China, first of all, but also that I had my own little secret. And I had just come
back. So it was funny. When you're a mother, or you're pregnant, there's a strength that you have; I had it but
nobody knew what it was. "
"My most iconic moment with Victoria's Secret was my first VS commercial directed by Michael Bay. I think that
really helped me to change my career a bit."
"Being the first contracted plus size model for Victoria's Secret was a major achievement that I never, ever
thought would be on my list of things. I think the most iconic moment was signing on the dotted line and being
invited into this amazing world of people who are considering how we can affect others. "