We Finally Understand Why Adriana Lima Quit Victoria's Secret

When supermodel Adriana Lima announced at the end of 2018 that she would be leaving Victoria's Secret, fans were shocked, to say the least. According to Insider, Lima had been with the brand since 1999, and her departure from the line came as quite a surprise. Lima didn't seem to part with the brand on bad terms and expressed nothing but gratitude for her time with VS, but many people think that there must have been something major that made Lima quit.

Lima was one of the brand's most iconic models. In 2000, she received the coveted title of Victoria's Secret Angel. Lima, who is one of the richest Victoria's Secret models, was at the height of her career when she announced that she would be leaving the brand. Why did she? Was it just one thing that made Lima hang up her VS Angel wings? Did she leave Victoria's Secret to explore other opportunities? Or was it a combination of things that made Adriana Lima quit Victoria's Secret?

Adriana Lima originally planned to stay with Victoria's Secret until her 20th anniversary

Adriana Lima's departure from Victoria's Secret was made more surprising by the fact that she'd previously said she wouldn't leave until she had walked in at least 20 VS fashion shows. "I plan to be at 20," the then-36-year-old told People in 2017. "Two more years. Maybe more, I don't know." She continued, "It's nature. I'm working out, I'm being healthy, so let's see how the body is going to turn out. But I enjoy it. So let's say 20."

Lima revealed that she loved walking the VS catwalk, saying it made her feel "happy, sexy, like an angel, excited and bubbly!" She added, "I feel very emotional to be part of it, in a good way. After so many years and to have a chance to see Victoria's Secret go and have their fashion show internationally, it's really an honor for me to be part of it."

In spite of her optimism, Lima left VS just a year later, and it was obvious that she was just as fit as ever, leading to speculation about what really caused her to leave the brand.

Adriana Lima's departure from Victoria's Secret was bittersweet

While Adriana Lima knew the time had come to leave Victoria's Secret, her departure was bittersweet. "Dear Victoria, Thank you for showing me the world, sharing your secrets, and most importantly not just giving me wings but teaching me to fly," she wrote on Instagram ahead of her final Victoria's Secret Fashion Show.

Lima also thanked her fans for supporting her over her 19 years with VS. At the show, she burst into tears on the runway as she made her emotional farewell. In an interview with The Daily Front Row, Lima revealed that she had planned her exit a year before her retirement, saying she "was emotional all year about it." 

Lima added, "I was trying my best not to cry, but I just broke down in tears. I loved walking the runway. It was always the highlight of my life. Knowing that it was my last time wasn't easy to take in. It was very emotional. ... I broke down in tears because I was sad, but also because of the love expressed. It's not just the brand but the girls, my dressers, the makeup artists."

Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima said she didn't want to take her clothes off for an "empty cause"

A year before Adriana Lima announced she was leaving Victoria's Secret, rumors started swirling that she was planning to leave the brand, thanks to a cryptic Instagram post she made in December 2017. Lima explained that she had turned down a request to film "a sexy video" for social media. "Even though I have done many of this type, something had changed in me," wrote Lima.

Lima explained that she had begun to question the pressures put on women. "When a friend approached me to share that she was unhappy with her body, then it made me think...that every day in my life, I wake up thinking, 'how do I look?'" she wrote. "'Was I going to be accepted in my job?' And in that moment I realized that majority of woman probably wake up every morning trying to fit a stereotype that society/social media/fashion etc imposed." She went on, "I thought that's not a way of living and beyond that.... that's not physically and mentally healthy, so I decided to make that change," adding, "I will not take [off] my clothes anymore for [an] empty cause."

Was there a rift between Adriana Lima and other Victoria's Secret models?

While Adriana Lima has always expressed her public support for Victoria's Secret, even after leaving the brand, after her cryptic December 2017 Instagram postGlamour pointed out something interesting about Lima's account. Fans began to suspect then that Lima was planning to retire from Victoria's Secret because she had unfollowed Victoria's Secret's senior creative executive, Ed Razek, on the social media app, as well as several of the fashion brand's models. 

Did beef between Lima and other Victoria's Secret models have something to do with her leaving the brand? Or were there perhaps creative difference between the model and the brand's executives?

If there's bad blood between Lima and her fellow VS models, she's not telling anyone. "I still see the girls all of the time at shoots or events," she told People in 2019. "I was just with Josephine [Skriver] the other day for a Maybelline campaign. It's a little family. Once you're an Angel, you're always an Angel."

Did Adriana Lima's desire for a more inclusive industry lead her to leave Victoria's Secret?

Victoria's Secret has gotten a lot of flack for its lack of inclusivity. "There's a body type and a size type that they believe in," a stylist who has worked with VS told the New York Post in 2018. "It's big t*ts, tiny waist, tall skinny legs. If they don't have the body that Ed [Razek] deems the perfect woman's body, they will not be in the show." 

While Adriana Lima hasn't openly criticized Victoria's Secret, it's possible that one of the reasons she left is because she agrees with the brand's critics. Since leaving VS, Lima has been very outspoken about her desire for more inclusivity in the fashion industry. "I am happy that it has become more inclusive of people of different races and sizes, but of course there is still a long way to go," Lima told People in 2019. "My hope is that the industry sends a message of representation. I want any young girl or boy to be able to open up a magazine or website or Instagram, however they view fashion, and feel represented in a beautiful and positive way."

Did Alessandra Ambrosio inspire Adriana Lima to quit Victoria's Secret?

In 2017, Adriana Lima's close friend and fellow Victoria's Secret Angel Alessandra Ambrosio departed from VS, leading some to think that her retirement may have inspired Lima's early departure from the brand. Ambrosio's reason for leaving the brand was more clear-cut than Lima's. Ambrosio told Entertainment Tonight that she wanted to work on her swimwear line, Ale by Alessandra, and build up her acting career. 

A couple years before Ambrosio retired, another VS model unexpectedly left the brand. In 2019, Karlie Kloss finally revealed why she decided to leave VS in 2015. "The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria's Secret was I didn't feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful," she told Vogue. "I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world."

Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima is focused on empowering women

Adriana Lima was vague about her post-Victoria's Secret plans when she announced her retirement from the line, but there was one thing she said that she wanted to commit herself wholeheartedly to. Before her final Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, she spoke to People about her departure and talked about what she wanted to do after hanging up her wings. "I'm looking forward to support women and being connected to different projects which support women around the world," she said. She noted, "I am still happy that I am part of Victoria's Secret this year."

Lima's desire to empower women isn't new. Her plans to work to support women following her Victoria's Secret departure echoed the cryptic Instagram post Lima made a year before leaving the brand. "We, 'as [women],' should not continue living in a world that has such superficial moral values...," she said, adding, "I want to change it, on the name of my grandma, my mother, and all her ancestors that have been labeled, pressured, [misunderstood]."

Former Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima plans to continue modeling

Even though she is no longer with Victoria's Secret, Adriana Lima plans to model for as long as she can. Leaving the brand gives her more time to focus on other modeling jobs, which might be one of the reasons that she quit. In 2019, she received the Daily Front Row's Fashion Icon of the Year Award. "After 20 years of career I never thought that I would be standing here today," she told Entertainment Tonight. "I'm really grateful for the Daily and also everyone — photographers, Victoria's Secret, all the companies, everyone that believes ... in me as a model. And created space and opportunities for me to become who I am today."

Upon accepting her award, she said, "It isn't over yet."

Lima has gotten plenty of work since leaving Victoria's Secret. According to People, she starred in a 2019 commercial for Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas. Other projects after leaving Victoria's Secret include landing on the covers of Vogue Arabia and Vogue Spain.

Adriana Lima felt a lot of pressure as a Victoria's Secret model

Many people have wondered why Adriana Lima would leave Victoria's Secret if she wasn't planning on completely retiring from modeling. Victoria's Secret is a highly sought after brand to work for, after all, and being a Victoria's Secret Angel is one of the most prestigious titles a model can earn. Lima took the job very seriously, and she said that she worked especially hard for Victoria's Secret because modeling in her underwear meant there was an extraordinary amount of pressure on her to look flawless. In 2011, Lima told The Telegraph that for nine days before the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show she would cut out solids, only drinking protein shakes. Twelve hours before the show, she'd cut out liquids, too.

While Lima, who is one of many famous models who are unrecognizable without makeup, is still careful about what she eats, she no longer has to put herself through her rigorous Victoria's Secret diet routine. In 2019, she told Elle that she now eats healthy food, even traveling with a cooler filled with pre-made meals from nutrition service Perfecting Athletes. The goal now, though, is health — not being slim for the runway. "I plan to live a long time," she said.

Adriana Lima has been working for brands she believes in since leaving Victoria's Secret

Whether or not Adriana Lima truly left Victoria's Secret because she didn't believe in the message the line was sending to women, Lima seems to have been pretty selective in who she has worked for since leaving the brand. "I believe in the brands I work with and hope that my audience realizes that I'm authentic," she told Vogue Arabia in 2019.

Those brands Lima believes in include Puma. In November 2019, Lima announced the launch of her activewear line on Instagram. "We were thinking about the design and the cut that would give the perfect muscle support when you wear it," Lima told Hollywood Life. "Besides a quality, it has to be fashionable. I need to feel sexy in it."

Lima was also part of BCBGMAXAZRIA's campaign in fall 2019. "I love that BCBG is a brand that really thinks about a woman's lifestyle," Lima told People. "There are pieces for every occasion, business meetings, a casual day running errands or a night out. You will always find something of theirs you want in your closet to feel good in and I like that."

Adriana Lima has been spending time with her kids since quitting Victoria's Secret

Another reason that Adriana Lima may have left Victoria's Secret is so that she can focus on her two daughters. "When I announced that I would no longer be with Victoria's Secret, I think everyone thought I was going to a different planet," she told People in 2019. "I have been working a lot and am continuing to work on new projects and taking care of my two beautiful daughters. Life is just as busy as it has always been and I love it that way."

Lima told Us Weekly's Stylish that her daughters are taking after her. "My daughters are definitely girly girls," she said. "Sometimes when I'm working in Miami, they come out to watch me get my hair and makeup done and then I find them in my room later going through my makeup. I've definitely come home to find little makeup fingerprints around my bathroom!"

Lima has a close relationship with her girls. In an interview with Vogue Arabia, Lima said that her kids can always make her laugh: "They amaze me... Children say anything that comes to mind, whether we like it or not."

Will Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima build up her acting career?

While Adriana Lima hasn't stated that she left Victoria's Secret to pursue an acting career, it seems like this is a definite possibility. According to her IMDb page, Lima already has several acting roles under her belt, including guest appearances on the shows How I Met Your Mother and Ugly Betty. She also appeared in films like Ocean's Eight. Lima has said in the past that she wants to continue acting. "I'm just waiting for someone to see me," she told Page Six in 2016. "I'm like, 'Hello, I'm here.' My dream role is with Quentin Tarantino, fingers crossed. I haven't had a chance to tell him that directly."

It looks like Lima may have had that chance after leaving Victoria's Secret. In 2019, she was spotted at the Hollywood premiere of the Tarantino film Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. "I'm living a dream right now," she told Scenester.

Now that she has more time to explore other career options, will we see Lima make the transition from runway to big screen? 

Former Victoria's Secret model Adriana Lima is proving that age is nothing but a number

Perhaps the most important thing that Adriana Lima, one of the most beautiful supermodels in the world, has done since leaving Victoria's Secret is show the world that models can have long, successful careers. In an industry where older women are often valued less, Lima is defying outdated standards of beauty. "I want to continue modeling!" she said in 2019 when The Daily Front Row asked how much longer she planned to continue with her career. "I'm 37 and I want to show the world that a powerful woman can be beautiful as a mature woman and as a mom. I use fashion as a tool to inspire women to take care of themselves. Age is not important. It's all about how you carry yourself."

Lima also wants to shatter stereotypes. "I've been modeling for more than 20 years, so okay, sure, I know how to take a picture," she told Refinery29 in 2019. "But I want to shatter the perception that I'm just a pretty face. I want to be remembered for more than that. I want people to remember that I worked hard, I was kind, and I was a good businesswoman."