The annual Victoria’s Secret show just aired on television, and if you didn’t fervently check social media when the lingerie spectacle actually happened last week, you were probably surprised to see model Ming Xi take a fall on the glitter-coated runway tonight—the first time an Angel has tripped in more than a decade.
While we did know Xi wiped out before tonight, what we weren’t expecting was for CBS to actually air it, given the show’s reputation for being edited to pristine, Swarovski-studded perfection. The 28-year-old super, who hails from China, where the show took place, handled her tumble with angelic grace, thanks in part to fellow model Gizele Olivera, who helped her up and gave her a smiling ovation in the most girl power-iest of ways. It was sweet, it was triumphant, and it tugged at the collective heartstrings of the world.
Xi seemed fairly cheerful as she completed the rest of her runway romp, her long, billowing train (the very damn thing that made her trip) sashaying behind her. Backstage, Hamilton star Leslie Odom Jr., who performed during the show, voiced his thoughts on the whole debacle: “Sometimes we fall, we get back up. If you fall seven times, you get back up eight.” Meanwhile, a visibly upset Xi was shown sobbing as she received a hug from Lily Aldridge. On Instagram, she wrote that it was “no doubt one of the hardest moments I have ever had to go through in my career, especially since the show was taking place in my hometown, in front of my mother’s and my people’s eyes.”
While Xi’s slip-up will no doubt continue to be meme fodder (unfortunate snapshots of her fall might just out-do that famous Ariana Grande moment in 2014) the situation recalls Adele’s very human performance at the Grammys earlier this year, in which she messed up the lyrics to George Michael’s “Fastlove.” “F*ck,” she said. “I’m sorry, I can’t mess this up for him.” Xi’s tumble was also reminiscent of the time when Jennifer Lawrence tripped up the stairs (in a Dior gown, no less) at the Oscars while accepting her Best Actress award for her role in Silver Linings Playbook. “You guys are only standing up because I fell and you feel bad,” the actress joked to the audience.
Was CBS’ decision to publicly air Xi’s fall—and her subsequent backstage weeping—all part of some encouraging-yet-clichéd “fall-down-and-get-back-up” message? Or did it simply make for some deliciously dramatic television? We’re going to go with the latter. It’s unfortunate that Xi had to relive the humiliating moment (which, let’s be real, has happened to everyone, even Naomi freaking Campbell) tonight and many times over, but perhaps the greater lesson here is that when—not if—you do fall, don’t let ’em see you cry. But if you do, it’s okay. You’re human. Besides, we’d love to see those grubby-fingered heathens over at TMZ, who just published an actual slideshow of Xi’s fall “from all angles,” maneuver a slippery runway wearing a very heavy and very elaborate floral configuration and sky-high Brian Atwood heels. Come on, guys. You’re better than that—or, at least, you should be.