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 slanteyes face sparked criticism in China.
The announcement is the second apparent snag to hit the US 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.
Hadid, ranked fifth on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid women models last year with US$9 million, had excitedly announced her participation in the show in August.
She gave no reason for the reversal.
“I’m so bummed I won’t be able to make it to China this year,” the 22-year-old said on Twitter.
“Love my VS family, and will be with all my girls in spirit!”
Hadid’s pull-out averts a potential public relations disaster for Victoria’s Secret, which is hoping to shore up a sagging bottom line with a push into China’s growing intimate-wear market.
The company opened its first flagship stores in China this year and Monday’s show is the first held outside the US or Europe.
Chinese internet users lashed out at Hadid after her sister Bella – another of the three dozen or more models expected in Shanghai – posted an Instagram video in February showing Gigi squinting her eyes while holding up a Buddha-shaped biscuit.
After Hadid said in August that she would come to Shanghai, many Chinese accused her of racism and warned her to stay away.
She posted a bilingual apology on China’s Twitter-like Weibo on September 1, declaring her “respect and love for the people of China” and swearing she meant no harm, but even that drew flak.
A Victoria’s Secret spokesman declined to comment when asked whether Hadid pulled out on her own, was asked to by the company, or whether Chinese authorities applied any pressure.
Most Weibo comments on her withdrawal were celebratory.
“Suddenly I have better feelings about VS. If she had come, I would never buy VS my entire life,” one person wrote.
Others, however, expressed regret, especially following Hadid’s apology.
What a pity. I like her a lot,” one said.
Speculation has also swirled over the participation of Russia’s Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva and Irina Sharipova, and Ukraine’s Dasha Khlystun, after unconfirmed reports suggested they were denied Chinese visas.
The Victoria’s Secret spokesman declined to comment.
“That’s getting into a Chinese government issue. Victoria’s Secret is not going to comment on that,” he said.
It was not immediately clear if Bella Hadid would still attend and the spokesman referred all line-up questions to the models’ individual agencies.
The annual show, viewed by millions worldwide, features the planet’s top models including Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Jasmine Tookes and Lais Ribeiro.
Hadid joins a list of foreigners who have worn out their welcome in China.
Argentine international footballer Ezequiel Lavezzi, who plays for Chinese club Hebei China Fortune, apologised in May after publicity photos showing him pulling the corners of his eyes back in a slant-eyed gesture angered many. He is still with the club.
A number of others including singers Bjork, Elton John, Katy Perry, Justin Bieber, Miley Cyrus, and Lady Gaga, and actors Richard Gere, Brad Pitt, and Sharon Stone, have either been banned or pilloried for words or actions deemed as criticising China on sensitive topics like Tibetan independence and human rights.
The tour kicks off at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, on May 8, 2018, and will travel to stadiums across North America throughout the summer before concluding at A&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, on October 6. The stops include the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California; MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey; Rogers Centre in Toronto; and the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.
Tickets go on sale to the general public on Wednesday, December 13, though fans will have the opportunity to purchase tickets in advance via the Ticketmaster Verified Fan program.
Registration is currently open and continues until Thursday, November 28. Additional dates will be announced at a later date for the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand.
The 27-year-old singer’s latest album includes the hit singles “Look What You Made Me Do, Ready for It and Call It What You Want.
She returned to the stage for the first time in months on the November 11 episode of Saturday Night Live.
University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona
Levis Stadium in Santa Clara, California
Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California
CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Washington
Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colorado
Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois
Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium in Louisville, Kentucky
Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio
FedEx Field in Washington, D.C.
Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
First Energy Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio
MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey
Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts
Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario
Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Florida
Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, Florida
Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee
Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan
U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minnesota
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri
Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana
The Dome at America’s Center in St. Louis, Missouri
Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana
NRG Stadium in Houston, Texas
AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas
Taylor Swift sells 1m albums in four days
15 November 2017
The star’s sixth album, Reputation, has sold 1.04 million copies in the US since Friday, says Billboard magazine.
That puts her ahead of 2017’s previous biggest-seller, Ed Sheeran’s ÷, which has shifted 919,000 copies to date.
Reputation also becomes Swift’s fourth album to sell a million copies in the space of a week, following 1989, Red and Speak Now.
In fact, only she and Adele have sold a million copies of any album in a seven-day frame since 2012.
Notably, both artists withheld their records from streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music – a move which drives committed fans to buy or download the album.
“In making her most modern album – one in which she steadily visits hostile territory and comes out largely unscathed – Ms Swift has actually delivered a brainteaser
If you’re using other people’s parts, can you ever really recreate your self?”
Reputation is set to debut at number one in the UK, after selling 65,437 copies over the weekend. However, she is unlikely to beat Sheeran in his home territory.
Divide sold 672,000 copies in its first week this March – making it the third-fastest seller in chart history, behind Adele’s 25 (800,000 sales) and Oasis’ Be Here Now (696,000).
Sheeran’s album, of course, was available on streaming services – which accounted for 12% of its sales.
Earlier this week, Spotify’s Troy Carter criticised Swift’s decision to hold her album back, saying it would encourage piracy.
“It kind of sets the industry back a little bit,” he said, while adding: “Taylor is super smart. We are not mad at her for the decision she made.”