Victoria's Secret started working with renowned models in the early 1990s, with the hiring of Stephanie Seymour, Karen Mulder, Yasmeen Ghauri, and Jill Goodacre. These models helped the brand gain notice and soon enough were featured in televised commercials. Veronica Webb is one of the original Victoria's Secret models.
"Angels" is one of Victoria's Secret´s lingerie lines, which was launched in 1997, with a commercial featuring Helena Christensen, Karen Mulder, Daniela Peštová, Stephanie Seymour, and Tyra Banks as well as pop star Tom Jones. The commercial was a major success and the "Angels" began to be featured in various commercials, alongside other contract models for the brand such as Yasmeen Ghauri, Inés Rivero, and Laetitia Casta. From then onwards, the term "Angel" started to become synonymous with being a contracted spokesmodel for the brand and in February 1998, the "Angels" made their runway debut at Victoria's Secret's 4th annual fashion show, with Chandra North filling in for Helena Christensen.
Stephanie Seymour, Karen Mulder, Daniela Peštová, Tyra Banks, Laetitia Casta, and new brazilian model Millena Gomes were all featured in both of Victoria's Secret webcast and took part in the promotion as the brand's contract models. Starting 2001, the show has been televised and usually features the year's "Angel" line-up at the start of the show, starting with Daniela Peštová, Tyra Banks, Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima and Gisele Bündchen. In 2004, due to the Super Bowl controversy, instead of a televised show, Victoria's Secret sent its five contract models (Banks, Klum, Bundchen, Lima, and Ambrosio) on a tour called "Angels Across America", as by then, the word had become synonymous with Victoria's Secret spokesmodels. The last original "Angel", Tyra Banks, departed the following year, as Karolína Kurková, Selita Ebanks, and Izabel Goulart were hired.
Among other recognitions, the Victoria's Secret "Angels" were chosen to be part of People magazine's annual "100 Most Beautiful People in the World" issue in 2007 and became the first trademark awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on November 13, 2007, with Heidi Klum, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Karolína Kurková, Izabel Goulart, Selita Ebanks, Marisa Miller, and Miranda Kerr at hand. Alongside new "Angel" Doutzen Kroes, they also took part in the grand reopening of the Fontainebleau in Miami in 2008. In 2009, it was widely reported that Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chanel Iman, Emanuela de Paula and Lindsay Ellingson had been hired by the brand. However, De Paula was absent from the fashion show and Erin Heatherton was credited in her place, alongside the "Angels" (Heidi Klum, Alessandra Ambrosio, Miranda Kerr, Marisa Miller, Doutzen Kroes, and Behati Prinsloo, with Adriana Lima being on maternity leave). The brand also held a nationwide competition to hire a new "runway Angel" (as are dubbed all the models who walk in the show), Kylie Bisutti was crowned as the winner but soon parted ways with the brand. In the following year-and-a-half Candice Swanepoel, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Chanel Iman, Erin Heatherton, and Lindsay Ellingson all were revealed as "Angels".
Various tours have been held featuring the "Angels", such as the Bombshell Tour in 2010 (featuring Laura Croggon, Sophia Timpano, Katie Bryan, and new recruit Lily Aldridge), a VSX tour in 2013 (featuring Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Lindsay Ellingson, and Lily Aldridge) and a Swim Tour in 2013 (featuring Candice Swanepoel, Lindsay Ellingson, and Erin Heatherton). The "Angels" have been heavily featured on the brand's social media, including on a short-lived Facebook application in 2013-2014 highlighting the "Angels" (then including Adriana Lima, Candice Swanepoel, Lindsay Ellingson, Lily Aldridge, and Karlie Kloss) as well as Lais Ribeiro, Toni Garrn, and Barbara Palvin.
Lindsay Ellingson, Doutzen Kroes, and Karlie Kloss all departed soon after the 2014 fashion show, leaving the brand with only 5 "Angels". In 2015, the "Angels" as well as models Elsa Hosk, Joan Smalls, Lais Ribeiro, Martha Hunt, Jasmine Tookes, Stella Maxwell, and Jac Jagaciak were featured on the brand's first ever Swim Special. Soon after, in the brand's biggest group hiring ever, all but Joan Smalls were revealed as "Angels", along with longtime catalog regulars Lais Ribeiro and Sara Sampaio as well as Kate Grigorieva, Taylor Hill, and Romee Strijd. The following year, Jac Jagaciak and Kate Grigorieva exited, while catalog regular Josephine Skriver was added to the roster. In 2017, Alessandra Ambrosio announced that the yearly fashion show would be her last. The day of the 2018 show Adriana Lima announced that the show would be her last.
Other notable spokesmodels for the brand have included: Claudia Schiffer, Eva Herzigová, Oluchi Onweagba, Jessica Stam, Ana Beatriz Barros, and Bregje Heinen as well as a handful of celebrities such as Taylor Momsen.