THIS is how an angel earns her wings. First, she is born, in someplace like Belarus or Florianópolis, the spot in southern Brazil where an awful lot of folks with German names fetched up over the centuries, or, well, Saskatchewan.
Then the angel grows up pretty. (There are no homely angels.)
Next, the angel is discovered, most likely in a mall.
The angel, at this point, does not realize she is an angel, because the process of becoming an angel requires time and guidance and support and miracles and, O.K., occasionally a sleazy boyfriend, as well as a decision at some point by Steven Meisel, or by some other star-making fashion photographer to choose a woman from among the thousands who would gladly sign away their firstborn for a chance to appear in front of his lens.
Although it is doubtless the dream of untold numbers of hopefuls to be discovered at a Victoria’s Secret open call some day — their beauty so radiant that they rise above the ranks of ordinary flesh-and-blood humans and appear as dazzling supernovas in underwear and stripper heels — the truth is that those destined to be cast in the coveted role of a Victoria’s Secret angel are not drawn from the general population. There is no democracy in angel land.
“We cast 30 models, but 10 times that many are sent to us by the agencies to be considered,” Edward Razek, the chief marketing officer for the Limited Brand, the parent company of the lingerie powerhouse, said last week before a casting session for this year’s Victoria’s Secret show, which will be televised on Nov. 30 to 11 million people in 185 countries, but will be taped before a more modest crowd in New York on Nov. 11.
“And 100 times that many would want to,” Mr. Razek said. “That’s why I hate castings, because I’m basically a softy and I hate the broken hearts and I hate saying no.”