Welcome to our column, "Hey, Quick Question," where we investigate seemingly random happenings in the fashion and beauty industries. Enjoy!
Not long after the 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show finished shooting in Shanghai last week, Chinese model Ming Xi became a trending topic across social media channels both in her home country and in the U.S. She had done something no model had done in the show's 15-plus year history: Xi took a tumble on the glittery runway.
The Victoria's Secret Fashion Show is no stranger to mishaps. There was the time in 2014 that Elsa Hosk's Pink wings nearly knocked Ariana Grande out (a moment that immediately became a meme), PETA crashed the runway in 2002 and both Karolina Kurkova and Natasha Poly have lost shoes while they walked, without ever missing a beat. The brand also loves to include footage of the backstage moments of chaos in the final televised edit, with models rushing to change into their next looks or dressers frantically lacing up a shoe.
Xi's fall felt like more than just a chaotic moment in the show; while amping up her hometown fans, her gauzy skirt slipped under her heel, sending her straight to the ground. In recent years, the show has filmed the dress rehearsal as well as the final run of show so that the production team could edit out mistakes like this. Fans were sure that Xi's viral fall wouldn't make the cut. And yet, there it was in the broadcast — Xi's tumble, as well as the agonizing moments that followed of her trying to get herself together while in tears.
It's not as though Victoria's Secret couldn't have cut the moment out altogether; in 2012, the brand was forced to edit Karlie Kloss's walk out of the broadcast after her feathered headdress caused controversy, and Hosk's near-collision with Grande was edited out of the final version of the show. Perhaps they wanted to create a heartwarming moment by including the footage of Gizele Oliveira helping her back to her feet, of Karlie Kloss cheering her on in the background and of Leslie Odom, Jr. sharing words of wisdom about getting up when you fall down. (Which all, by the way, felt like total overkill.)
It was a sad enough moment as it was. Xi had just gushed about how excited she was to walk the show in her hometown and to have her family in the audience. But then! Then Victoria's Secret decided to include backstage footage of Xi sobbing after leaving the runway. Not only was this totally unnecessary — it's not like anyone had seen evidence of this happening on social media — it also felt like a mean-spirited pile-on to a model who clearly already felt embarrassed. Beyond Xi herself, the moment just felt tonally out of place from the rest of the high-octane, relentlessly positive spectacle.
So, Victoria's Secret: What did Ming Xi ever do to you? Were you totally oblivious to her feelings of embarrassment? Was this an attempt to help bolster flagging viewership by creating a "viral" moment? The inclusion of the crying footage seems tone-deaf at best and cruel at worst. Whatever the reason, Xi handled the fall with remarkable composure, and Victoria's Secret might want to find the biggest bouquet of roses on Earth to send to her today.