Less than a week after "celebrity prankster" Vitalii Sediuk attacked Gigi Hadid at Milan Fashion Week, the model and boxing connoisseur spoke to Lena Dunham's Lenny Letter about the incident. While she had first expressed a series of initial reactions on Twitter — including a tweet that rightfully extolled the benefits of preparation and muscle memory — this was the first time that Hadid unpacked the experience fully for the public to read.
As Hadid told Dunham, she began boxing two years ago after years of playing competitive volleyball. "Since then, I hadn't been in a situation that forced me to fight back, but it just came out when he grabbed me — it wasn't a choice," she said. "I do have that fighter in me."
And though there's certainly no need for Hadid to justify her reaction — "If my behavior isn't model behavior, then what is? What would you have told your daughter to do in that situation?" — she again emphasized the importance of self-defense, and being comfortable relying on your intuition as to when to employ it.
Honestly, I felt I was in danger, and I had every right to react the way I did. If anything, I want girls to see the video and know that they have the right to fight back, too, if put in a similar situation. Practicing self-defense is important so that when you're in the moment, reacting from muscle memory comes more naturally to you than freezing up. Confidence in your own ability to defend yourself comes with educating yourself about it, and is a massive advantage when in an unsafe situation.
Hadid did have the immediate support of one important person: Her mother, Yolanda Foster. "When my mom first saw what had happened, she texted me the picture of me elbowing the guy and (among other messages of support) said, "Good girl," Hadid says. Now that's a #proudmommy.
You can read Dunham and Hadid's full conversation at LennyLetter.com.