Taking a bad spill on the runway may be a model’s worst nightmare — and it’s only amplified when it might be broadcast to millions on TV.
Chinese model Ming Xi found herself in that scenario last week when she slipped and fell during the 2017 Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, which taped in Shanghai. On Tuesday night, CBS aired the telecast, and some thought the network might edit out Xi’s spill.
“Don’t expect to see this moment in the final cut of the fashion show when it airs on CBS,” People magazine cautioned last week. “Victoria’s Secret traditionally tapes two run-throughs of the show for this very reason, so the tumble will likely be removed from the final show.”
As it turns out — not so much! Why would they? For producers, a model falling down is TV gold. Although the annual lingerie show has edited out embarrassing moments before (such as Ariana Grande getting hit in the face by angel wings), CBS doubled down on the incident.
It all started innocently enough as Xi, thrilled to be in front of her hometown crowd with family in attendance, strolled down the runway and waved her hands in the air, encouraging the audience to get louder. Then, her heel caught in her skirt, and she tumbled to the ground.
The crowd audibly gasped. For added drama, CBS spliced in backstage comments from producers:
“Ming is down!”
“Oh my goodness!”
“Can she get up? Is she okay?”
As Xi straightened her gigantic flowered costume and tried to recover, Brazilian model Gizele Oliveira offered her a hand. (“Gizele’s got her,” one producer said.) The audience roared as Xi got to her feet and walked to the end of the runway, where she struck a pose. Oliveira clapped and cheered, as did Karlie Kloss, who was right behind them.
As Xi walked offstage, she started sobbing — the cameras followed her as the fellow models gave her hugs and offered reassurances: “It’s okay, don’t worry. You’re so beautiful, and you looked so beautiful at the end.”
“Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr., who was performing a medley of “Forever Young” and “Winter Song” when Xi’s fall took place, also offered his encouragement backstage. “Happens to the best of them. Sometimes you fall, you get back up. Fall down seven times, get up eight,” he said.
Viewers on social media, however, weren’t all pleased that CBS aired the moment.
In an Instagram post, Xi called her spill “one of the hardest moments I have ever had to go through in my career,” especially in front of a hometown crowd. However, she added, “the support I received from everyone yesterday was incredible and I am truly grateful to everyone who was there for me.”