"It was amazing," Borges said backstage at the 2016 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show, which this year takes place at the Grand Palais in Paris. "It was such a great opportunity to showcase this natural Afro. This year, I feel happy still because I see two other girls with short hair and they are beautiful."
Dilone, a first-time Victoria's Secret model, remembers watching Borges last year. "I looked at her and was like, 'This could actually be possible for me now,'" she recalled. "It was really cool, [Maria Borges] definitely broke a lot of barriers."
As she spoke, a hairstylist walked by, extensions in hand. "Don't give me extensions, ah!" Dilone exclaimed. He was heading elsewhere.
The 21-year-old Dominican model is one of the most in-demand models of the moment, thanks to her signature curly hair. "I didn't think they would ask me to put hair extensions in," she said. "There's a few other girls here with short hair and I'm glad they are not trying to add extensions to them. I think they're bringing more diversity this year."
Jourdana Phillips, another model making her Victoria's Secret debut, echoed Dilone's thoughts. "I was so happy to see Maria do that. It made me feel like one day I could do it, too."
Phillips only recently cut her hair short and dyed it blond, for Anthony Vaccarello's debut Saint Laurent show in Paris. "It's brand new," she said. "It was [the hairstylist at] Saint Laurent's idea. I was like, 'Lets just go for it. I don't care, it's just hair!'"
Since then, she's had no regrets about her short, bleach blonde pixie cut. "I have been seeing a lot of girls go short and it's been making me feel a lot more comfortable with myself, like I don't need long hair to be beautiful. It's really just me and the energy that I project that makes me feel beautiful."
Borges was touched by their words. "This is like another dream come true," she said.
Watch Maria Borges and Adriana Lima explain how to take the perfect selfie: