Set to the backdrop of some high-profile drama, the hotly anticipated 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show just concluded in Shanghai, marking the first time that the lingerie giant has organized its televised underwear extravaganza in Asia.
More than 50 models — including a record number seven Chinese — modeled Victoria’s Secret products on Monday evening, accompanied by music from Harry Styles, Jane Zhang, Miguel, and Leslie Odom Jr. The show will air Stateside on November 28 at 10 p.m. ET on CBS.
We’re not sure if CBS is going to air this moment, but it’s been the talk of the internet in China:
That’s Chinese model Ming Xi (Chinese name Xi Mengyao 奚梦瑶, who we interviewed in February) losing her footing, to some very audible gasps from the audience.
But Xi quickly regained her composure and flashed a big smile. As she tried to get back on her feet, Gizele Oliveira, the model behind her, offered help. The audience inside Mercedes-Benz Arena encouraged Xi with a loud round of applause.
“Victoria’s Secret model recovers from runway fall like an angel,” wrote Elle. She looked pretty good in the end:
But internet users on Chinese social media were much less kind.
“She should have spent more time practicing her walk, but most of her time and energy went to reality shows. It’s time for her to reflect on herself,” wrote one Weibo user.
Perhaps they should try walking in five-inch heels on a slippery floor while draped in translucent chiffon!
Visas and politics
Outside the arena, the absence of pop star Katy Perry and model Gigi Hadid continued to make headlines. Last week, it was reported that their visas were denied by the Chinese authorities due to political reasons. Although no official explanations were given, an editorial from state-owned Global Times gave some clues.
Titled “Victoria’s Secret models’ visa denial is of their own making,” the op-ed states, “China’s entertainment industry is very open, but it has its own rules. Political correctness cannot be ignored. In the Chinese mainland, the public, especially netizens, keep a watchful eye and they do not want foreign stars who offend China’s basic values to perform on its soil.”
When asked about the issue during a press briefing on November 20, China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang 陆慷 said (in Chinese), “Like other countries, China, as a sovereign state, has the right to decide whether or not to issue visas to foreign citizens based on domestic laws and regulations.”
To further complicate things, Page Six — the gossip site that first broke the story of China’s Katy Perry ban — published a follow-up on November 18. It says that the emails of the Victoria’s Secret show’s staff and production crew have been closely monitored by Chinese authorities.
“They want to discuss what’s going on as far as replacements for those denied visas and alternative arrangements, but they have to be tight-lipped because it seems that the government is watching their emails,” a source told Page Six.
UPDATE, 11/21, 2:30 am ET: Here’s a pretty great find by That’s Shanghai: In 2016, Ming Xi said in an interview that she’d “retire” if she ever fell on stage at a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Let’s hope she doesn’t keep her word.