The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is known for its over-the-top presentation of it’s products in high profile settings using pop musicians and dozens of the world’s top supermodels or “Angels” with giant peacock-feather-like wings. The Angels’ hair has traditionally been big, bouncy waves – until Tuesday.

23 year-old Angolan model, Maria Borges, strode on the runway in teal-coloured lingerie and colourful feather ‘wings’, wearing her hair natural and short.

“I told my agent I wanted to walk in the Victoria’s Secret show with my natural hair,” Borges told Essence. “I was nervous, but I had to do it. When they said ‘yes’ I didn’t expect it, but I was so happy!”

Angolan model Maria Borges. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty
Angolan model Maria Borges. Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty

She was so excited about it that she had tweeted about going out on stage in a look different to the fashion show’s usual image.

But it was always easy for her to accept her looks, let alone natural hair, she told xoNecole: “They used to make fun of me because I was growing up so skinny and tall. And usually the girls from my country, they’re size is different [and more curvy]. So when I would walk down the streets, I was not normal. It’s like, ‘Oh, does she eat?’ Of course I eat!”

“Starting February of this year, I cut my hair and I’ve been wearing it like this since. Before, I was using my natural hair mixed with extensions. Black is beautiful! I have to embrace my worth and that’s it! For me I think I look more beautiful with short hair.”

According to Essence, her biggest advice for women unsure about wearing their natural curls? “Be strong,” she says. “If you say you’re beautiful without hair and make-up, then they will believe you. It’s about being confident and always being yourself.”