Adriana Lima Feels 'Celebrated' by Victoria's Secret After Having a Baby at 41: 'It's Uplifting' (Exclusive)

Lima, who was the longest running Victoria's Secret Angel from 2000 to 2018, tells PEOPLE that fashion right now feels hopeful for the "new models coming up"

<p>Taylor Hill/Getty</p>

Taylor Hill/Getty

Victoria’s Secret has entered a new era and Adriana Lima is thrilled to be along for the ride.

The iconic model, who has worked with the brand for years as one of their most famous "Angels," tells PEOPLE that she’s “celebrating” this new time for the brand not just because it’s exciting for the retailer to move into an inclusive space but also because it’s an exciting time for fashion.

“I feel that as a woman, and still being in fashion — I’m 42 years old and a mom with five kids, so I feel that I’m still being celebrated in this stage of my life,” she tells PEOPLE at an event in honor of Victoria’s Secret’s upcoming The Tour event. “It’s great to see that no matter what stage you are [in life], for my kids and the new models coming up, it’s uplifting.”

<p>Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty</p>

Gilbert Flores/WWD via Getty

Related: Emily Ratajkowski Attends Victoria's Secret World Tour in New York in a Matching Black Leather Set

This new direction for Victoria’s Secret kicked off in 2019 when the famous Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled following complaints of a lack of body diversity on the runway.

In 2021, the retailer launched the VS Collective, aimed to drive the brand more toward what women want. At launch time, the lingerie retailer's VS Collective featured Priyanka Chopra, Megan Rapinoe and many other "accomplished women who share a common passion to drive positive change," Victoria's Secret announced in a press release.

Shortly after the VS Collective announcement, the brand further pushed for change by removing Angel displays from stores and moving away from the iconography.

Starting in summer 2021, stores moved to displays of mannequins of all shapes and sizes and brighter lighting and pale pink walls that would feel "more inviting for women to enter," Victoria's Secret's EVP and head creative director, Raul Martinez, told Page Six at the time.

Since then, Victoria’s Secret has continued to move toward a more inclusive model, showing more body diversity in campaigns and working with plus-size models and consultants, including Remi Bader. The TikTok influencer partnered with VS Pink last year to help keep the brand accountable and true to size and continues to be a voice for inclusivity.

With Victoria’s Secret The Tour, which will stream on Prime Video on Sept. 26, the fashion show will make a return, but in a new format and in a new way. Many of the models who stomped the runway in years past will return, though it won’t be a live, traditional runway as we once knew it. Instead, the feature film was shot in various cities around the world and truly celebrates fashion and art.

Related: Priyanka Chopra Flashes Her Lingerie Under Sheer Gown at Victoria’s Secret World Tour Event

Jason Nevader/WireImage
Jason Nevader/WireImage

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The film will focus on 20 innovative global creatives who curated fashion collections from Bogota, Lagos, London and Tokyo.

The group, which consists of all types of creators including filmmakers, artists, fashion designers, choreographers and body artists, will "conceptualize, produce, and stage a collection that is all their own" alongside custom Victoria's Secret designs, the brand shared in a press release.

The artists will create alongside each other in different "houses" based on location and the film will follow their journeys and showcase the final results.

Lima, who is no stranger to a Victoria’s Secret runway, tells PEOPLE that this experience doesn’t even compare to her past shows — it was a whole other world.

“The whole experience is different for everybody,” she says before a preview clip of the show was shown to the room — introduced by Naomi Campbell and Gigi Hadid. “The fashion show itself is going to be totally different form — not the usual runway as you think. There will be a runway, there will be a walk, but there will be parts where fashion designers, poets and musicians will be celebrated, and they will have a freedom of expression for whatever talents they have. So I'm excited to see that.”

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