On Tuesday, the annual Victoria's Secret fashion aired on CBS. The show, which was taped in Shanghai last week, was by all accounts, an extravaganza of international proportions. The models looked fabulous, as models often will. The runway was superbly lengthy. Even better, barring one notorious incident, almost all the models made it down the runway and back, lingerie and wings still in good form.
Unfortunately, the show has also had no end of controversy, much of it having to do with a dreaded word called racism.
This year's Victoria's Secret fashion show was meant to be an extravaganza of sartorial excellence.
Filmed in Shanghai, China, the show was meant to star the likes of Gigi Hadid, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Candice Swanepoel, Lily Aldridge… You know, all the big names you think about when you think about giraffe-like women with unrealistically fit bodies stomping down an artificial sidewalk.
It was also going to be Alessandra Ambrosio's big sendoff.
The 36-year-old Brazilian model, who has walked the Victoria’s Secret runway for the past 17 years was ready to give up her wings so she could spend more time with her family. This was going to be her big moment, her grand finale.
One by one, things started falling apart with the show.
Gigi Hadid, the reigning fashion It Girl had to drop out because her visa wasn’t approved by the Chinese authorities. The reason? Racism. Video had surfaced of Hadid earlier in the year making a racist gesture with her eyes that had Chinese social media users fuming.
Other models were also unable to make the show because they were denied visas.
Big names such as Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva, and Irina Sharipova were denied for issues ranging from racist incidents to “diplomatic issues.”
Even the show’s big talent wasn’t spared.
Singer Katy Perry was replaced with Harry Styles after the Chinese denied her visa because of a performance she'd done in neighboring Taiwan, which China insists is actually part of their country.
To make matters worse, one of the models, Chinese-born Ming Xi slipped and fell on the runway and CBS not only didn’t cut out the clip, they also showed footage of her crying afterwards, igniting a firestorm of social media criticism.
The point is, the Victoria’s Secret fashion show was a big, hot mess. None of it, however, compared to what happened next.