Photos from the ultra-glossy Victoria's Secret Fashion Show can inspire a hint of envy in anyone—enough to forget, at least temporarily, the preparation that goes on behind the scenes. One of the brand's most prominent poster models, Alessandra Ambrosio, who's walked 17 of the brand's shows and sent actual fan sites into a frenzy when it was rumored that this one might be her last, for example, has also famously admitted to not eating solid foods for nine days and not drinking any liquids for 12 hours before the show.
Ambrosio, who told W last month that she trains for the show "the whole year," is hardly alone in her preparations; the class of choice for many at the Dogpound, the unofficial gym of Victoria's Secret Angels, is the so-called "Machine Gun," which is just as intense as it sounds.
If many of the bodies that parade down the runway take that much effort to perfect, then, why not go one step further and simply Photoshop the models? That's exactly how Chrissy Teigen and Ashley Graham, who definitely have not been following Ambrosio's regime as of late, ended up "walking" the runway this past weekend, both posting Photoshopped versions of themselves in what served as a body-positive message, even if they didn't have to say so explicitly.
On Sunday night, shortly before the show was taped in Shanghai on what was Monday morning in the States, Graham, a plus-size model signed to IMG and self-described "body activist," posted an Instagram of herself with a winking emoji and the hashtag "#thickthighssavelives," which has already gotten 500,000 likes—about 200 to 300,000 more than her usual posts—in the less than 12 hours since she posted it. Teigen, meanwhile, stuck to Twitter—the platform she's proven herself a master at, as exhibited by the fact that Donald Trump has blocked her—with hers, beginning on Saturday when she asked her 8.5 million followers to Photoshop her into a photo she posted of Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss, Maria Borges, and more of the models set to dominate this year's runway.
It's telling that in one of the resulting images, which one fan delivered in just four minutes, and Teigen retweeted, the model fits right in. She and Graham are, after all, professional models—both have landed on the cover of Sports Illustrated swimsuits issue at that. Graham, for one, has proven herself as an accomplished lingerie runway model; her Photoshopped image was only altered by the addition of a pair of wings to a runway shot of her walking for the plus-size brand Addition Elle last year.
The pair may have been joking—Teigen in particular has kept up a stream of tweets about how she's in Shanghai, "making paella for [her] fellow VS girls !!!!"—but the fact that they were is perhaps most telling of all: What does it say about the standards we hold models—and therefore young women—to if the idea of two professional, popular models that aren't sample size to walk the show is so outlandish that the idea of even suggesting it has to be done in jest?
Neither Teigen or Graham, however, seemed exactly disappointed that they didn't have to go through the grueling practices that many who walked the runway in China on Monday no doubt did, though there was one ray of light compared to last year's show. This year, Thanksgiving takes place after the film date, instead of shortly before it, hopefully meaning the models who walked will soon be back at home stocking up on pumpkin pie and mashed potatoes just like Teigen, who's also a cookbook author, undoubtedly will.
See Jasmine Tookes Try on the $3 Million Victoria's Secret Fantasy Bra: