Why Gigi Hadid pulled out of Victoria Secret’s Fashion Show in China

An angel lost her wing on Friday when Gigi Hadid, an American supermodel, pulled out of Victoria’s Secret fashion show which has been scheduled to hold next week in Shanghai.

Her shocking decision comes a few months after she appeared in an online video where she made a slant-eyes face while holding up a Buddha-shaped cookie. Her thoughtless action was heavily criticized by many who believed the gesture was a popular stereotype about Asian facial features.

Gigi Hadid

Image: Gigi Hadid

The 2016 International Model of the Year was accused of racism, and when she announced in August that she would be part of the upcoming Shanghai event, many Chinese netizens warned her not to bother visiting.

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On Sept. 1, she followed up her apologies with a Weibo post to affirm her love and respect for the people of China.

Although she swore that her gesture was not intended to offend anyone, the latest news of her withdrawal has sparked mixed reactions in the Asian country.

One of her most recent Twitter posts read: “I’m so bummed I won’t be able to make it to China this year. Love my VS family, and will be with all my girls in spirit!!”

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Image: Gigi Hadid

The decision to pull out of this year’s VS annual event evoked pity, regrets and anger in China with many people feeling her action has been over-flogged by the media even after she tendered an unreserved apology.

“Suddenly I have better feelings about VS. If she had come, I would never buy VS my entire life,” an internet user wrote in the most popular Chinese social media outlet.

“What a pity. I like her a lot,” another one wrote.

There are speculations that the attack on Hadid will affect Victoria’s Secret upcoming show in Shanghai after rumors surfaced that Russia’s Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva and Irina Sharipova, and Ukraine’s Dasha Khlystu will miss the event due to visa problems.

“That’s getting into a Chinese government issue. Victoria’s Secret is not going to comment on that,” a spokesperson for VS told reporters ahead of the show which starts on Monday November 27.

The event will go live on Tuesday (28 November) for global audience.

Hadid, who reportedly made a whooping  US$9 million to grab Forbes No. 5 spot on the list of world’s highest-paid female models last year, may have pulled out of the VS event to avoid a major PR failure.

The company has recorded low earnings and is finding it difficult to absorb challenges from China’s expanding intimate-wear market.

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“I have learned to be very careful of how my actions can come off or be portrayed, and I’m hopeful you’ll accept my apology,” Gigi wrote in the bilingual Chinese website.

It is unclear whether the embassy has denied her a visa to China.

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