Top US fashion model Gigi Hadid on Friday pulled out of the annual Victoria's Secret fashion show in Shanghai after an online video showing her apparently making a slant-eyes face sparked criticism in China. Although it may not be connected, the news is brow-raising amid the investigation into the sudden death of a 14-year-old Russian model who collapsed after walking in October's Shanghai Fashion Week.
"I'm so bummed I won't be able to make it to China this year", Gigi wrote on Twitter.
"Forever and ever and ever a dream come true to be asked back to the VS Show", she caption a snapshot of her all dressed up from the previous year.
The reasons behind the move are mostly commercial: China is a massive market for the brand, and Victoria's Secret is hoping to appeal to Chinese consumers as they expand in the nation's "fast-growing market". "We got Bella, we're good sis", before another added, "Reporting Gigi Hadid to Chinese Authority to fight against Racist.We do not need a fake apology for one who just wanna earn money in Asia".
"I am so excited!"
The announcement is the second apparent snag to hit the USA lingerie maker's A-list underwear extravaganza set for Monday, following reports that three Russians and one Ukrainian model had failed to obtain Chinese visas.
"She was initially granted a visa to perform at the VS show in Shanghai, then Chinese officials changed their minds and yanked her visa", a source explained.
But there are also comments on Bella's Instagram post condemning her, since she was the one who recorded and posted the video in question in the first place.
At the time of writing, Lima hadn't posted anything on social media indicating she was on her way to China, unlike some other models.
The Victoria's Secret spokesman declined to confirm or deny the reports.