She walked the iconic catwalk for the first time at just 18 and now, after a 19-year-reign and ‘learning to fly’, Adriana Lima is officially hanging up her wings.

The VS Angel walked her final runway show last night in New York City, where she was reportedly met with a standing ovation.

Describing her Victoria’s Secret journey, spanning almost two decades, she exclusively told before the show she had watched the lingerie giant grow “from a regular runway event” into “a part of pop culture”.

The turning point for the brand had come at the Cannes film festival in 2000, she said, adding, “then after that, we had musicians on the runway and more performances. So many more people around the globe started watching the show and now it’s in over 190 countries.”

And as of this year, this also includes Australia, with the brand announcing it will be launching its first store at Melbourne’s Chadstone shopping centre, which is expected to open its doors by the end of the year.

“This is so exciting!” said Lima of the news. “I love Australian people and you guys are going to love the store. I can’t wait to come to Australia! It’s so fun, I love it.”

Before taking to the stage for her final show, Lima told even after almost two decades, she still gets nervous. “I get cold sweats, and I get shaky hands. I have this thing right before I walk out, I start yawning! But that’s my body showing its nervousness so I try to calm down my nerves and listen to the song, whatever music is playing and connect with the people that are on the runway. If they try to interact with me, I really respond to them.”

Learning to control this “anxiety and excitement” had proven to be the 37-year-old’s biggest challenge throughout her VS career, she said, adding this largely stemmed from all the hard work that went into the lead up to the show, which for her, includes a strict vegetarian diet and rigorous training regime of boxing and functional training several times a week.

As for the next generation of VS models coming in beneath her, Lima had some sound words of advice: “Embrace being a part of an amazing show and celebrating all types of women”.

And rather modestly, she adds, “Well, I am sure because they made it here there is something unique about them – because you know, that’s what Victoria’s Secret is, it’s finding something special and unique.”