Valentina Sampaio (Photo credit: Andrew Day @andrewdaystudio)

This was Valentina Sampaio’s first Met Gala, and while that may seem like an intimidating feat at first, Sampaio graced the cream carpet with grace and confidence last night. Hailing from Brazil, Sampaio made her runway debut during São Paulo Fashion Week in 2016, and was soon scouted by L’Oréal to star in a film about the model, which was released on International Women’s Day.

Sampaio has quite the portfolio of magazine covers in addition to being an acclaimed runway model. In February 2017, Sampaio became the first ever transgender model to pose for the cover of Vogue Paris, going on to appear on the covers of Vanity Fair ItaliaElle Mexico and Sports Illustrated in 2020.

In August 2019, Sampaio announced that she would officially model for Victoria’s Secret’s PINK. Since she has hit the scene, Sampaio has trailblazed and broken barriers within the modeling industry, and now, with her first ever Met Gala appearance, Sampaio talked with GRAZIA about how she gets ready for such an event, and what the theme In America: A Lexicon of Fashion means to her.

Valentina Sampaio (Photo credit: Andrew Day @andrewdaystudio)
Photo credit: Andrew Day @andrewdaystudio

The Met Gala’s theme this year is In America: A Lexicon of Fashion, and is all about the transformation and reflection of sociopolitical themes reflected in fashion. What does that mean to you?  

I come from a very small town in Brazil, so coming to America was a whole new world to me. When I started modeling, I was introduced to the American fashion industry and the diverse community of creatives in it. This year’s theme represents the future of American fashion and embracing even more inclusion and creating opportunities for underrepresented communities in the industry.  

What is the inspiration behind your Met Gala look?  

I worked with my amazing stylists Anda & Masha (@andamasha) on this Iris Van Herpen look. Our inspiration was to bridge couture and technology.  

Similarly, what was the concept behind your makeup and hair?  

My dress is a statement look, so we kept the glam simple. We worked with Armani to keep the makeup look fresh and a lip color to complement the dress. We wanted the hair to be classic and sleek to not take away from the dress. 

Valentina Sampaio (Photo credit: Andrew Day @andrewdaystudio)

How do you mentally prepare for something like the Met Gala?  

This is my first Met Gala, so I’m excited to take in the whole process. I like to keep my mind calm and enjoy the preparation. It’s truly incredible how much work and detail goes into the looks for the Met.  

Do you have any red carpet styling or posing tips?  

I think the biggest thing is confidence and feeling good in anything you go down the red carpet in, which starts at the foundation of the look. Victoria’s Secret has amazing foundation wear. I love their Bare Lightly-Lined Strapless Bra and seamless panties to wear under even my most statement looks. My posing tips depend on the dress. My dress for tonight has a high leg slit, so I love to do a leg pop to show off the dress shape. 

Photo credit: Andrew Day @andrewdaystudio