I Lived Like the Exact Opposite of a Victoria’s Secret Angel

And my obliques look great


It’s that time of year again! The air is filled with the smell of snow and the spirit of giving, every lamp post is decked in some fairy light situation, your breath tastes like hot apple cider regardless of whether or not you just drank hot apple cider, there’s non-stop holiday music on every radio station…and a crew of lithe women recently walked down a runway in nothing but thongs and wings.

I’m talking about the annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. If you’ve ever tuned in to the pre-Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show news circuit, you’ve probably noticed a trend. If you have not, allow me to provide a small sampling of headlines:

“I Lived Like a Victoria’s Secret Model for a Week”

“I Ate, Drank, And Trained Like A Victoria’s Secret Model For Two Weeks”

“My Week Eating + Working Out Like a Victoria’s Secret Angel”

“I Spent 7 Days Eating and Exercising Like a Victoria’s Secret Angel”

“I’m Turning Myself into A Victoria’s Secret Angel”

“3 Procedures, 5 Hours: Testing Out the Victoria’s Secret Angel Beauty Regimen”

Now, this is all fine and good. I am very happy for these intrepid writers and their respective journeys to Victoria’s Secret angel enlightenment. But I’ve always been curious about…the other side. The dark side. The anti-angel existence.

And that’s how I found myself living like the *exact opposite* of a Victoria’s Secret Angel for one week.


All Victoria’s Secret Angels have the same hair. The recipe is very precise: ⅓ mermaid, ⅓ Blake Lively, ⅓ male orgasm. I am familiar with this recipe because I have gone to Dry Bar and asked for it many times.


My hair happens to naturally veer in the *exact opposite* direction when left to its own devices: ⅓ Bellatrix Lestrange, ⅓ nest, ⅓ Leonardo DiCaprio’s coat in The Revenant. Ergo, for the sake of this experiment, I just let it be.

As for skin? The angels love exfoliation and oxygen. It’s like the salt and pepper to their scrambled egg whites, which is to say, crucial. Apparently they all go to the same facialist, Mzia Shiman (dubbed “The Skin Whisperer” by Allure Magazine), for her signature Oxygen Facial. I gave this facial a wide berth. I even went so far as to cut off my face’s oxygen supply via a new treatment I like to call The Turtleneck Facial, in which I pulled my turtleneck up over my face and breathed in deeply. I was the proud owner of a brand new pimple the next day. I named it Mzia.


Figuring out what to eat as an anti-angel was more difficult than I expected. I did extensive research into angel feeding habits, and results were frustratingly inconclusive. Here are a few choice quotes for your consideration:

“I love food so much, I can’t give it up…I eat the same thing now as I will after the show and that’s pepperoni pizza, that’s my number one.” — Jasmine Tookes

“I cut the carbs and the sugar, and I eat protein” — Alessandra Ambrosio

“I’ve just been working every day in a different country, so I haven’t had time to prepare. I had McDonald’s for lunch yesterday and pizza for dinner, so that’s not going to change.” — Cara Delevingne

“I eat very clean, very boring stuff — a lot of protein, a lot of vegetables, a lot of good carbs, like quinoa and rice. Not a lot of bread. I miss bread…This is the first year I’ve ever thought about bloating…I was very conscious about not eating watery vegetables.” — Martha Hunt

As you can see, there seems to be a sharp divide: if you are a Victoria’s Secret Angel, you are either an alien from outer space with the ability to ingest copious junk food with zero physical repercussions, or you are a regular (albeit stunning) human woman who eats a lot of plain grilled chicken breast.


So how did I do the exact opposite of two extreme opposites? I just ate…moderately. Oatmeal or acai bowls with scrambled eggs for breakfast, kale salads for lunch with plenty of yummy toppings like quinoa and avocado and pesto vinaigrette, farro vegetable grain bowls for dinner, usually followed by a small scoop of honeycomb ice cream from the Van Leeuwen’s pint I have in my freezer. You get the idea. I didn’t cut out anything. I ate when I was hungry and stopped when I was full. It was super pleasant.


Victoria’s Secret Angels train like Olympians in the months leading up to the show. Many of them exercise seven days a week for an hour or more, sometimes twice a day. Their workouts run the gamut from barre classes at Ballet Beautiful to private training sessions with Justin Gelband of ModelFIT.

All of this information should come as no surprise. You can’t get obliques more chiseled than Penn Badgley’s jawline by lying around. Fortunately for me, the anti-angel world doesn’t give a flying Fitbit about what your obliques look like. I took the entire week off from exercise.


Victoria’s Secret Angels wear very little clothing, which makes perfect sense. I, too, would wear nothing but bejeweled dental floss if my butt looked like living latte art. But I am an anti-angel (hear me roar), and my butt looks more like one of those blobs inside a lava lamp.


For the entire week, I didn’t so much as touch a thong. It was full-coverage granny panties all day, every day. I went entirely braless; the opposite of a $3 million Bright Night Fantasy bra is no bra at all, I’m pretty sure. I treated my body like burrito filling and wrapped myself in as many layers as possible: chunky sweaters, enormous scarves, parachute pants… I had never looked less like a professional underwear model, and my belly button had never been cozier.

I did, however, cave and invest in a pair of tiny children’s angel wings from a cheap party store to wear on the final day of my journey through the dark side. It felt wrong not to.

Speaking of Victoria’s Secret models, let’s get one thing straight: Cara Delevingne’s “bloat” scandal was a big, bloated lie.

Feature photo by Krista Anna Lewis.

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  • What did I just read?! Please tell me you are, in fact, a composite of eleventeen different writers.

  • Bailey Stark

    Who would want to wear a 3 million dollar thong when you can be fully covered for $5 from Target?

  • Imaiya Ravichandran

    bejewelled dental floss hahhahahhahaha

  • Harling. Your description of hair is…it’s perfect. I laughed out loud, namely bc I have this hair, too.

    *⅓ Bellatrix Lestrange, ⅓ nest, ⅓ Leonardo DiCaprio’s coat in The Revenant*

    • this too: ⅓ mermaid, ⅓ Blake Lively, ⅓ male orgasm

      • Indeed. Laughed out loud at that, too. The whole piece was gold.

    • Tania

      SAME! I was at a quiet coffee shop giggling

      • Harling Ross


  • I’ve never read a better phrase to describe my ideal butt- living latte art is spot on!

    • Harling Ross

      That observation comes from closely watching the baristas at Grumpy’s swirl my foam every morning

  • Yvonne Dunlevie

    I happen to prefer your hair to that of the ~*angels*~

    • Harling Ross

      that’s why you’re my favorite mom

  • Mariel Vela

    I love this, literally the whole office turned to look my way. I couldn’t stop laughing!

    • Harling Ross

      that makes my heart do a cartwheel

  • Jennifer


  • Robin

    Bellatrix Lestrange over any angel any day though!!

  • Holly Laine Mascaro

    This is amazing – so refreshing after being bombarded for over a week now of “leading up to the VS show!!!!” content from literally every side.

  • Hannah Cole

    Best diet yet!

  • Margaret Frazier

    But WHERE are those eggs from?

    • Harling Ross

      Two Hands on Mott street in NYC!!

  • Jasmin Aujla

    Nothing is better than a cozy belly button!

    • Harling Ross

      can i get that embroidered on a pillow plz

  • Sam

    It is astounding how much less tacky the anti-Angel life is than Angel life. They should ostensibly be two equally tacky sides of the same coin.

    (Sorry I just think the VS shows are obnoxious.)

  • Krusty the Kat

    Annoying my coworkers by reading choice bits of this article aloud while snort-laughing.

    Thanks Harling!

  • klc

    This is possibly my favorite article on the site

  • navneet dudhagara
  • Basil

    This article is totally awesome, and inspiring (my belly button loves to be cozy). I then went back and read one (just one, I couldn’t handle more) of the “I lived like a VS angel” articles, and I now love this article even more. It was such BS. Thanks again man repeller

  • C-dog

    A great text! Seems like stardust drizzeld onto paper, easy and cool. (Thumbs up)

  • This was so funny that I read all of it aloud while drinking too much coffee.

    You are my new favorite writer and most definitely my favorite anti-angel.

  • Basil

    I had to find and re-read this article as I follow vogue.com on FB (maybe I should stop?) and it’s been non stop articles about the jeffing Victoria Secrets “fashion” show for weeks now. How is this still a thing? Do women really care about it? It feels more like it’s a thing to please straight males
    I much prefer Harling’s take on the whole situation and will be joining her on the anti-angel diet (if she does it again this year)