When I opened my Weibo yesterday, ready to watch Victoria’s Secret’s annual fashion show, I was surprised to find my screen flooded with pictures and clips of Ming Xi, one of the seven Chinese supermodels who walked the runway last night in Shanghai. Ming attracted attention after stepping on her own flowing cape, then falling down on the stage — a first in Victoria’s Secret history. The 18,000 audience members sitting in the Mercedes Benz Arena were shocked for a second, but later generously applauded Ming as she stood up with the help of the following model, Gizele Oliveira, and continued down the stage.
Ming apologized for the gaffe later on her Weibo:
I’m sorry for disappointing you, and thank you all for your concern. I have been a model for seven years, and I have fallen countless times on this road… But I know no matter how painful it is, I will stand up and finish it… It’s still a long journey ahead, and I will always walk on… Thank you.
In the mean time, on Zhihu, the Chinese equivalent of Quora, , netizens seemed to be much less generous and tolerant:
If a teacher lost test papers at an exam, would you say “I feel sorry for him”?
If a doctor prescribed the wrong medicine to his patient, would you say “I feel sorry for him”?
If a cop didn’t do whatever he could to arrest a criminal, would you say “I feel sorry for him”?
No. Because you know they’ve violated a professional standard, which must be acknowledged and criticized.
Why all of this encouragement and concern when this happened to Ming Xi, who just made a huge, unprofessional mistake?
Seeing voices feeling sorry for her and repostings of encouragement for her, I only feel that we’re too tolerant to professionals who are under a halo of being stars.
(People also criticized Ming for appearing on too many entertainment shows and failing to do her work as a model. She is more like an entertainer than a supermodel now.)
Discussions about the accident have gone viral all over the Chinese internet, dividing people into two teams focusing on completely different perspectives. The online frenzy has even overshadowed the other models’ perfect walking, as well as Victoria’s Secret’s latest designs.
And of course, some smart advertisers reacted quickly:
Don’t fear the tall sky, only fear the slippery floor.