Veteran angel Adriana Lima walked her first Victoria's Secret Fashion Show in 1999. Sixteen years later, she's still got the pizzazz needed to rule the world's most coveted runway. Not only that, but she's also become the brand's ultimate ambassador and has proved to be a huge role model for young women aspiring to make it in the fashion industry.
To get where she is, the 35-year-old mother of two worked harder than most, following intense workouts and diet regimens to fit Victoria's Secret's very particular standard. While that has sparked some controversy in the past, Lima believes the brand and the show can be a way to empower women because of the range of models who participate. (Read: Regular Women Recreated the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show and We're Obsessed)
"[The show] is all about embracing women from all over the world," she said while attending the Sword & Sound event, presented by Corkcicle. "The girls are from all over the world and different ages, and they all show their different personalities."
This diversity is what Lima believes should be a source of inspiration to women, who struggle with body image issues and self-acceptance. Her advice to anyone trying to compare themselves to Victoria's Secret models: "You have to be yourself. Each one of us has our own thing going on that we bring to the runway, and we show it. Just embrace yourself, because the minute you try to be something you're not, you lose your identity."