In a new interview with Vogue UK, the "Project Runway" host explains that the decision came during a soul-searching period of her life. Kloss had just enrolled in New York University's Gallatin School to study feminist theory, and she had recently begun to reevaluate her career path.
“The reason I decided to stop working with Victoria’s Secret was I didn’t feel it was an image that was truly reflective of who I am and the kind of message I want to send to young women around the world about what it means to be beautiful,” Kloss told the magazine.
Making the tough decision to walk away from one of her most lucrative contracts felt pretty darn empowering, too.
“I think that was a pivotal moment in me stepping into my power as a feminist, being able to make my own choices and my own narrative, whether through the companies I choose to work with, or through the image I put out to the world," Kloss continued.
The August cover girl also had some wise advice for other women trying to figure out their career.
“Looking back at my late teens and early twenties, I think I was fearful that I would lose a job or lose my position if I said I didn’t want to do something,” she said. “But I did not lose out on jobs. If anything, the more I exercised the power of my voice, the more I earned respect from my peers. And I earned more respect for myself. Only now do I have the confidence to stand tall — all 6-feet-2-inches of me — and know the power of my voice.”
In an industry that's increasingly focused on diverse representation, Victoria's Secret has been facing growing criticism for its lack of inclusivity. In a surprising turn of events, the brand also recently revealed that the annual Victoria's Secret Fashion Show might not be returning to network TV next year.
Life after Victoria's Secret hasn't been half bad for the model. After all, she got married to her love Joshua Kushner last fall, and she's the brand new host of "Project Runway."
Still, at the end of the day, Kloss says life is about so much more than work.
“I am deeply ambitious and driven, and there are a lot of big things I want to do — big things,” she said. “But I also want to enjoy the people I love and who love me. It’s important that I have joy in my life.”
Words to live by!