It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, we’re not excited about Thanksgiving and leftovers. We’re not even thinking about Christmas with its candy canes, presents under the tree, and ho-ho-ho. We’re thinking about the annual Victoria’s Secret fashion show! It’s right around the corner, and this time it will be held in the city of lights – Paris! What could be more glamorous than that? There will be a bunch of gorgeous women strutting the catwalk in lingerie and other dramatic costumes, all while the cameras are flashing and the fans are cheering. Our mouths are watering. Even though most of us will be watching from home, it’s still a spectacle to admire. It is pomp and circumstance at its sexiest.
The Victoria’s Secret Angels are the most stunning women on the planet. More so than any Hustler Honey, Playboy Playmate or Maxim cover girl. This year the VS fashion show will be extra hot and heavy, since the lingerie retailer has been suffering from low profits and is seeking to drum up buzz for the brand. They are showcasing a lot of up and coming models in between their returning favorites, and they will have star power including an appearance from Bella Hadid on the catwalk, and music by Lady Gaga, Bruno Mars and The Weeknd.
A lot of people, though, aren’t buying into the hype. Not only do they say that VS is a tired brand that is slowly segueing into becoming an unappealing sportswear company, they take issue with the uber-stylized models. We could seek to convince you one way or the other about the models’ looks, but where’s the fun in that? We’d much rather let you take a look at some of the brand’s top models with and without makeup, and decide for yourself. Be prepared to see the good, the bad and the ugly.
15. Candace Swanepoel: Makeup Is A Girl’s Best Friend
Candace Swanepoel is one of Victoria’s Secret’s brightest stars, and is a bona fide angel which is a title they don’t give out to just anyone. She is everything that VS embodies. She’s tall, blonde and curvy in all the right places. With full-on makeup, she looks like a perfect ten. Her blue eyes sparkle like the ocean, and are accentuated by arched eyebrows and high cheekbones. Her pouty lips stand out in hot pink lip gloss. And her flowing hair is heaven-sent. It’s hard to imagine anyone not being attracted to her… Until we take a look at her no-makeup look. The South African native looks like a plain Jane that no one would even look twice at. Behold, the power of makeup!
14. Rosie Huntington-Whiteley: Hotness Or Hot Mess?
Rosie Huntington-Whiteley is fast becoming a household name. She’s appeared in movies, on Jason Statham’s arm and in many racy pictorials. But have you ever looked at her and thought that something doesn’t quite add up? Have you caught her at a bad angle and thought that maybe she isn’t all that she’s made out to be? Well, you might be onto something. Just take a look at her no makeup shot. Clearly, she takes advantage of the smoke and mirror effect that a makeup artist can provide. When she’s au naturel, her eyes don’t sparkle, her nose isn’t sharp and her lips look overdone. The only thing that looks genuine about her are her eyebrows. Everything else was done by Maybelline. Guys, she’s a cautionary tale. You might go to bed a hotsy-totsy, and wake up next to a hotsy-notsy. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!
13. Miranda Kerr: Beauty Is Only Skin Deep
Miranda Kerr won’t be walking the runway this year for VS. She said that she’ll be too busy with a project in Asia, but word on the street is that the lingerie company dropped her like she’s hot because she was too difficult to work with. Maybe the real reason is that their makeup artists had to slave away in order to make her runway ready. Just look at her before and after photos – it’s like night and day! Without makeup her facial features are exaggerated. Her nose is broad, her forehead is wide, and her dimples look like craters. Kerr gives every girl who feels unattractive pure hope, because they can believe in the transformative power of makeup. It’s magic. The mascara is the wand, the blush is the pixie dust, and the lipstick is the fountain of youth. Everyone who gets plastic surgery should rethink their drastic measures – they should learn the art of makeup application. Just look at what it did for Kerr!
12. Emily DiDonato: Presto Change-o
Emily DiDonato’s before and after shots are startling. Without makeup, she looks like she’s seen a ghost. She’s pale and expressionless. We know modeling agencies go ga-ga over that sort of thing, but in real life we call that look creepy. With full-on makeup, DiDonato looks like the hottest pin-up since Betty Grable. Her lips are cherry red and are pursed just-so. Her skin is golden, and we can even make out a faint beauty mark on her face, which is a nod to Marilyn Monroe. And her eyes are stylized, so that they appear slanted like Sophia Loren’s. Basically, whoever did DiDonato’s makeup borrowed elements of other famously beautiful women and put them together to create a supermodel. We must give credit where credit is due, though. DiDonato has the raw materials to serve as a good foundation for beauty.
11. Adriana Lima: Who’s That Girl?
Adriana Lima has been a Victoria’s Secret Angel since 2000, which currently makes her their longest running model. So it was a huge surprise when we saw this pic of her without makeup. Frankly, we didn’t recognize her. She is hot-hot-hot with makeup. Her blue-eye green eyes are electrifying when they are rimmed with black. Her bronze skin glows with vitality. And her mouth is luscious. Lima looks like she only has one thing on her mind. In contrast, she looks like a little girl playing dress-up without makeup. Her face is contorted into a strange grin, her teeth are crooked and her eyes are dull. Seeing this comparison makes us wonder how much her body (namely her chest) is aided by the wonders of the VS studio.
10. Erin Heatherton: Picture Imperfect
Erin Heatherton’s days as a VS hottie are over – just like her short lived romance with Leonardo DiCaprio. Heatherton says that she parted ways with VS because she couldn’t live up to their expectations – she claimed the lingerie retailer set targets for her weight that she couldn’t reach. The rumor mill has a different story, and it is simply that Heatherton wasn’t attractive enough. At six feet tall, she’s a bit gangly to wear sexy lingerie. And her freckles didn’t seem to play well. Plus, even her shot with a full face of makeup isn’t anything special. Her flowing hair and tan skin distract from asymmetry in her eyes and lips – something we can see clearly in her no-makeup shot. If you ask us, she might even look better without all the glitz and glamor. At least in her God-given state she looks at ease.
9. Doutzen Kroes
This comparison of Doutzen Kroes is internet gold. It’s hard to believe that she’s even the same person. With makeup, Kroes is a flawless beauty. Her lips are plump and pink, she has a petite little nose, and her skin is radiant. Even her hair puts Jennifer Aniston’s to shame. But in her no-makeup shot, Kroes looks like she has a diagnosis of Albinism. Her skin is pale, except for ruddiness in the cheek area which is indicative of rosacea. Her nostrils are flared and most unfeminine. Her eyes are buggy, and her brows are almost invisible. And let’s not forget her front teeth – they stick out like Bugs Bunny’s! You would never ever in a million years think this woman could be a model – let alone a model for VS. Looks certainly are deceiving, as she is one of the highest paid models out there. Kroes has modeled for Tommy Hilfiger, Prada and L’Oreal.
8. Cara Delevingne: What The…?!
Cara Delevingne certainly has a promising career ahead of her. She’s walked for Victoria’s Secret, and is starting to make her mark on the big screen. The problem is that lots of embarrassing photos have been cropping up of her. They are totally ruining her mystique, and making her look like a fraud. In real life, she always seems disheveled. Her hair is a mousy shade, and is frequently uncombed. Her trademark eyebrows look downright bushy. And her figure, while thin, often seems to be untoned and unhealthy. When fans see her with full-on makeup, she looks too good to be true. Which, unfortunately, seems to be the case.
7. Alessandra Ambrosio: Beauty Is In The Eye Of The Beholder
Alessandra Ambrosio has never failed to make headlines for VS. In 2005 she walked the runway in a get-up made entirely out of candy. In 2006 she was the first spokesmodel for the brand’s PINK line. She even walked in the company’s fashion show while pregnant. Ambrosio has long been a favorite, but she hasn’t become a household name like Gisele or Heidi. Why not? Some think that she lacks a certain oomph that is hard to describe. Even we couldn’t put out finger on it until we saw her no-makeup pic. Then, we realized what the difference was between her and some of the other VS models – she is a bit of a tomboy. Her frame is very long and lean, and she is small on top compared to other voluptuous VS models. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. That’s why VS hires girls with varying traits.
6. Lily Aldridge: A Rose By Any Other Name
Lily Aldridge looks gawky without makeup, but with makeup she looks gorgeous. All of her best features are highlighted thanks to the help of foundation, concealer and powder. Her skin is luminous, her brown eyes look bright and her cheeks are sculpted. She’s obviously dedicated to makeup, so we wonder why she hasn’t gotten her teeth fixed. Of course, it’s an unfortunate reality that the stranger a model looks, the higher she gets paid. Just look at the success of Cindy Crawford’s mole, Kate Moss’ skeletal frame and Linda Evangelista’s short hair. For a model to really make it, she needs to have something more than commercial good looks – she needs a gimmick. However, we don’t think Aldridge’s schtick is her less than perfect teeth – it’s got to be how manly she looks. Now that being trans is in, we think VS was ahead of the curve in hiring this model.
5. Heidi Klum: Dirty Little Secret
Donald Trump was right about one thing: when he said that Heidi Klum is no longer a ten. She’s starting to look her age, and it is quite apparent in her no-makeup pic. She has circles under her eyes, which don’t even appear to have eyelashes. Her skin tone is uneven and splotchy. And she looks like she’s put on more than a few pounds. But all that goes away with makeup. Models can spend two or three hours in the makeup chair, while their glam squad words on them from head to toe. They start with a spray tan, then their faces get spackled with concealer so that the real magic can begin (lip gloss, smoky eye makeup, blush) while at the same time they get their hair blow dried, then curled, then sprayed. As if that isn’t enough, they get photographed with perfect lighting from the perfect angle. And then Photoshop takes over. Klum has probably been worked on for hours upon hours by a small army in order to get her “after” shot picture perfect. Kind of disgusting, isn’t it?
4. Gisele Bundchen: To Thine Own Self Be True
There’s no question that Gisele Bundchen looks far better with makeup than without. However, she is one of the few models on this list that pretty much looks the same in both shots. She looks like herself with a full face of makeup on – just a better version of herself. And isn’t that what makeup should be? It should accentuate one’s best features and diminish imperfections, rather than being a mask. The fact that Bundchen sports a more natural look is no doubt part of her international appeal. What you see is what you get – more or less. We almost don’t want to see what she would look like if she was really glamorized, because she’s probably be so hot that she’d burn up. And her husband Tom Brady, probably wouldn’t approve. When you look at the short list of women he’s been linked to, they are all rather unassuming looking. Read into that what you wish…
3. Bar Rafaeli: Less Is More
Bar Rafaeli might actually look better without makeup, if you prefer the earthy type. In her no-makeup shot, her soft features shine though. She looks comfortable in her own skin, and her blue eyes really pop. Plus, there’s just something about tan lines that drive people wild with desire. When Rafaeli has makeup on, it doesn’t do her too many favors. Her look is too monochromatic. But who are we to judge? Obviously Leonardo DiCaprio found her alluring enough. Also, we hear that she has a great personality and doesn’t take any sh*t. You’ve got to love a beauty that also has balls.
2. Karolina Kurkova: Accentuate The Positive, Eliminate The Negative
Karolina Kurkova is the poster child for makeup at its best. She is transformed from “not” to “hot.” Her makeup artist is really skilled, because all of her best features are played up. Her wide lips are the ideal hue to show off her pearly white teeth. Her nose is shaded so that its length is accentuated instead of its point. And her cheeks are full in order to balance out her chiseled temples and chin. There really should be a prize for makeup artists, because they turn ugly ducklings into swans. We hope Kurkova and the other models appreciate their talents, because they’d be nothing without their makeup team. Many makeup artists out there are true Michelangelos, which is no small feat. Makeup application is hard, and it’s way too easy to wind up looking like a Picasso.
1. Taylor Hill: Beauty Chameleon
Taylor Hill could very well be the next big face for VS. At just 20 years old, she’s already been dubbed an Angel. Hill has everything it takes to give the new “supermodels” like Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner a run for their money. She has a delicate beauty that is quite versatile. She can walk the runway in sexy lingerie, and can also do schoolgirl chic while remaining demure. Hill has a lot of different sides to her which will bode well for her future. But the side we weren’t prepared for was the shot of her first thing in the morning, sans makeup. Her facial features seem very out of proportion. Her eyes are buggy, her lips are over plumped and her nose is too round. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: that’s the magic of makeup!