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After Being Attacked in Milan, Gigi Hadid Wants Women Everywhere to Know They Have the Right to Defend Themselves

A photo posted by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid) on

Last week, reporter Vitalii Sediuk, notorious for pulling bizarre, often violent, celebrity-baiting stunts, creeped out the world when he grabbed Gigi Hadid as she exited the Max Mara show during Milan Fashion Week.

Thanks to Gigi’s superior boxing skills, the slight model successfully fought off Sediuk, who’d grabbed her and picked her up against her will. “Who the fuck are you, you piece of shit?” Hadid yelled, chasing after him as he ran off to escape her expertly aimed elbow jabs.

As Lena Dunham wrote in today’s Lenny Letter, the paparazzi footage of the event “is equal measures upsetting and empowering. It is chilling to watch, in real time, the ownership a stranger seems to feel toward a body he considers public domain. But it’s also stirring: in one swift movement, without the aid of her bodyguards, Gigi makes it clear that she will not be made to feel like anyone’s property.”

Strangely, before Sediuk was identified as the attacker, certain media outlets were quick to criticize the way Hadid handled the situation, calling the man a “prankster” and accusing Hadid of “aggressively lashing out” against a “fan.” Gigi, who felt — and rightly so — that her behavior was 100 percent appropriate, took to Twitter to address the issue: “The actual fans that were there can tell you what happened,” she wrote. “I’m a human being and had every right to defend myself. How dare that idiot think he has the right to manhandle a complete stranger.”

Later that day, Sediuk attempted, via Instagram, to justify his manhandling the model. In an open letter, Gigi’s attacker reiterated the tired argument that Gigi and Kendall, while beautiful, are not worthy of the title of “supermodel,” have only made it in the industry due to their Instagram fame and connections and ought to learn a thing or two from real talents like Sasha Pivovarova and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley.

My article on why I think Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are not super-models and what’s wrong with fashion industry today PART 1: It’s not easy to walk through Milan streets these days for me… Gigi Hadid is everywhere: on the trams, window shops, news-stands, etc..and her young optimistic fans calling me a “pedophile” on Instagram for lifting her up when I’m only 27 y.o. 😉 It seems after Cara Delevingne partially left fashion for cinema (which was a wrong move, I think) Gigi took away her crown completely. After encounter with Ms. Hadid at Max Mara show in Milan, I expressed my opinion that while I considered her beautiful, she and her friend Kendall Jenner, had nothing to do with high fashion, more of Instagram fame. I still stand with my opinion despite the backlash. Prefix “super” to “model” means certain requirements. When you go to fashion agency, they make a photo of you at different angles with no make-up on you, professional lights and other additional supplements that would help you stand out and cheat a little at audition. Usually agents looking for boys and girls with dramatic cheekbones, edgy, almost scary, face features to book them for campaign or runway. If Gigi and Kendall go to high profile agency in Paris or Milan without their surname, they would definitely not have passed through the first audition round. In Europe those who represent fashion and make decisions are not shy in responses. The direct answer to you “No”, “You don’t fit” is common while in the United States people might be offended for hearing this directly in your face. There are other ways to get into this industry – fame and connections. While I have nothing against kids of rich and famous parents, when you come from such environment you have to work harder than anybody else to prove that you are not worse than those boys and girls who desperately wait for their auditions rounds being hungry and sleepy (probably because they work at night time, somewhere at the bar, to pay their bills). While taking a look at Kendall Jenner’s numerous photoshoots or runway appearances, I see the same face emotions all over again. She looks bored and completely uninterested..

A photo posted by Vitalii Sediuk (@vitaliisediuk) on

PART 2: ..It seems she doesn’t live it up and feel the moment. Modelling is also acting, where Madonna’s “Strike a pose”, “Express yourself” is not an empty sound. It seems Ms. Jenner has skipped those acting classes. She doesn’t seem very much excited about her yet another Vogue cover making it look like it’s not a big deal describing it simply on Instagram – “Spanish Vogue October issue”. It would be a big deal for someone who works half of his/hers life to be on a prestiges cover. As for Gigi Hadid, she has a SWAG, but it’s still doesn’t put you in a “super-model” position. Wearing huge sunglasses that cover half of your face and expressing “I’m a bitch” emotion whenever you walk out from public place, makes you look rather not matured. But there are models that you can learn from, especially how to walk the runways: Snejana Onopka and her “I don’t give a fuck”, Sasha Pivovarova, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Irina Kravchenko, etc. Both Gigi and Kendall depend much on their huge instagram following that makes it very attractive for fashion agencies to book them for bigger PR of a particular product. It’s not a secret that nowadays you can buy followers, likes, comments, etc.. Selena Gomez is reaching 100m followers this week on Instagram. Does it make her voice sound better or help cement her status among the greatest artists? No. And if you pay close analysis to hers or Kendall’s /Gigi’s instagram following, you would find out that a large part of their followers are fake accounts. There are even programs and apps in the Internet to identify that. Still, as for Selena, I consider her likeable. There are of course other type of models that raise questions as well. Without any doubt, Irina Shayk is hot but without high profile boyfriends (who use her to hide their not traditional orientation) she wouldn’t be on the runways of Versace and Givenchy. I liked her on a cover of “Sports Illustrated” though, where she advertised swimsuits. But Irina is not an ‘haute couture’ material. Despite all, we should not blame them for being all over.

A photo posted by Vitalii Sediuk (@vitaliisediuk) on

He blamed those who put Gigi and Kendall on a pedestal — Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Vogue Japan’s Anna Dello Russo and Carine Roitfeld — for compelling him to act. Then, in a stunningly ignorant postscript, Sediuk mocked Zayn Malik’s mental health issues: “Gigi, your boyfriend, Zayn, is lucky he was not there, because it would be yet another panic attack to him.”

PART 3: ..The likes of fashion pioneers Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld, Donatella Versace, Anna Della Russo or Carine Roitfeld (the one I made a selfie with for a reason) are responsible for letting these models to have prefix “super”. Anna Wintour makes a poker face, whenever she walks out from a fashion show or a public event without liking to answer any questions but when she put Kardashians on the cover of a well-respected magazine Vogue, she made a lot of people upset. And it’s fair enough that they demand answers to certain questions. Her likability to ego-maniac Kanye West also made people raise eyebrows. He is a talented musician but fashion isn’t his thing (by the way, his new song “Fade” is playing now in a cafe where I am writing this article. I think it’s catchy). Though Vogue is not only about Wintour. Her college Anna Dello Russo, Vogue Japan’s Editor-In-Chief, made me ask a few questions as well. When does she find a time to write or edit articles, reviews on numerous collections when she changes up to 3 outfits per day during fashion week and posing non-stop to streets-style photographers pretending to be speaking on the phone all the time? There’s nothing bad to like attention but when you occupy such a top fashion position, I bet, you have a lot of work to do. She doesn’t seem to spend a lot of time in Japan either. Fashion is all about “gang”. Designers, models, fashion editors, agents they are all friends to each other, partying, drinking, relaxing (Ibiza would be their favourite spot)..they all do it together. Which means when one of them gives a green light to a certain model, likes of Kendall or Gigi, who don’t deserve enough to be there, it means the rest of the “gang” will approve it as well. And when you call out one member of “gang” for being unprofessional, get ready for a blacklist. P.s. As for incident with Ms. Hadid, her kickboxing classes were on point 😉 Her tough elbowing kick broke my lip but I don’t complain. I started this..and, Gigi, your boyfriend Zayn is lucky he was not there because it would be yet another panic attack to him… Vitalii Sediuk

A photo posted by Vitalii Sediuk (@vitaliisediuk) on

Hadid, who clearly does not take attacks on her character or person lying down, penned a much more substantive take on the events for her aforementioned pal Lena Dunham’s biweekly feminist newsletter. In it, Gigi attributes her swift reaction to the attack to her years of boxing training and expresses her hope that the video inspires other women to learn self-defense.

“I remember taking the time, as it all felt slo-mo, to look at him, a stranger, and my first reaction was: ‘Get me out of this situation.’ I played volleyball, and my coaches talked about muscle memory. I started boxing two years ago and I always remembered that. 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. I do have that fighter in me,” she wrote.

Gigi acknowledges that she, as a public figure, was lucky to have her true fans at her side during this ordeal, but realizes that other victims of street harassment and abuse may not have such strong support networks.

“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.’ My mom has taught me the power of my instincts since I was a kid. She’d always be like, ‘OK. Pay attention to the people who make you feel uncomfortable. I want you to tap into that and be aware of it.’ I continue to use that intuition with the fashion industry and the people who I have to be around. It usually guides me pretty well. I think it guided me in this situation, too,” Gigi shared.

She continued: “It sounds cliché to say it, but in the moment, it wasn’t heroic to me. It was just what I had to do. It’s very touching to me that people see it that way. I know people are put in much worse situations every day and don’t have the cameras around that provoke social-media support. I just want to use what happened to me to show that it’s everyone’s right, and it can be empowering, to be able to defend yourself.”

At the risk of also sounding cliché, we’d say Gigi’s rebounded gracefully from this traumatic event and successfully turned lemons into educational lemonade.Read the full letter here.

[ via Mic ]