Victoria Fuller, a contestant on Peter Weber's Bachelor season (opens in new tab) as well as a potential Bachelorette frontrunner (opens in new tab), has gotten into hot water over her work as a model and influencer before she appeared on the show. In promotional posts that have since been deleted, it appears that Fuller modeled apparel that has a "White Lives Matter" slogan on it—but the apparel company claims to be conservation-focused (although, it should be noted, appropriation is appropriation). Here's what we know about the apparel company, the slogans they use, the modeling Fuller did for the brand, and how it might impact her life and career going forward.
Fuller modeled for WLM Apparel.
Weeks ago, fans begun pointing out that one of the brands Fuller modeled for, WLM Apparel, appeared to have products that promoted a White Lives Matter/Blue Lives Matter message. However, the brand maintains that the "white" and "blue" lives in question actually pertain to marlins, not people. If you look carefully at the quasi-Confederate flag shirt, it's got little marlins on it instead of stars.
victoria f modeled for a white lives matter clothing brand she’s gotta go #TheBachelor 🤢 pic.twitter.com/OX7oajqjIFJanuary 7, 2020
WLM Apparel claims its focus is conservation.
WLM Apparel used to have a website (marlinlivesmatter.com) and an Etsy—neither of which seem to work now. They still have a Facebook (opens in new tab), which they haven't posted on since 2018 (and has now either been deleted or been made private), and an Instagram (opens in new tab) that is defunct. The company is based in Virginia Beach, and in the "About" section of Facebook it explained, "WLM Supports Marlin Conservation. That's Our Companies Passion." (I pulled that information while the Facebook was still working for me.)
There are still images of the apparel on some Instagram users' sites:
A post shared by Christie McAninch (@christie_mcaninch) (opens in new tab)
A photo posted by on
In an interview with the New York Times (opens in new tab), owner George Lamplugh explained that the items were "designed to promote the conservation of white and blue marlin." Given the inactivity of their sites, though, they may no longer sell anything (I'm speculating that the anger that's currently being directed at Fuller would have been directed at them too at some point). Fuller has not commented about the modeling gig.
Fuller won, then lost, the chance to have a digital cover with Weber.
During a group date in Costa Rica, contestants dressed up in swimsuits and modeled for a Cosmopolitan photo shoot. One lucky woman would be selected the winner and get to appear on a digital cover of the magazine with Weber. Lo and behold, Fuller won the competition. This week Cosmo editor-in-chief Jessica Pels announced in a statement (opens in new tab) that the digital cover wouldn't be published on the site because of the aforementioned WLM modeling gig.
Pels acknowledged WLM Apparel's stated focus, explaining: "In my view, the nature of the organization is neither here nor there—both phrases and the belief systems they represent are rooted in racism and therefore problematic."
Fuller has been quiet on social media for the past couple of weeks (her last post was on January 21 (opens in new tab)), and it's not clear if this will come up during Women Tell All, if she appears, or after the show wraps. We'll update if we learn more.
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Katherine’s a Boston-based contributor at Marie Claire who covers fashion, culture, and lifestyle—from “Clueless” to Everlane to news about Lizzo. She’s been a freelancer for 11 years and has had roles with Cosmopolitan and Bustle, with bylines in Parents, Seventeen, and elsewhere. It’s “I go to dinner,” not “Her huge ego,” but she responds to both.
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