The Victoria's Secret models have been documenting their travels to Shanghai, sharing their favorite travel accessories and last-minute workouts before the big show. Her denial apparently stems from a 2015 incident in which she wore a dress decoraged with sunflowers - the symbol of anti-China protesters - during her concert in Taiwan.
The hashtag "GigiGetOutofChina" started trending and Hadid was forced to disable comments on her Instagram after being flooded with outraged posts and issued an official apology on China's Twitter-like microblogging platform Weibo in September.
"Katy Perry the pop princess got many pulses racing in 2008 with the release of the hot single 'I Kissed a Girl" and she is still hotter than ever. "I have learned to be very careful of how my actions can come off or be portrayed, and I'm hopeful you'll accept my apology".
With Perry, Chinese officials reportedly took offense at her wearing a dress with sunflowers on it during a 2015 performance in Taiwan.
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A Victoria's Secret spokesman declined comment when asked by AFP whether Hadid pulled out on her own, was asked to by the company, or whether Chinese authorities applied any pressure.
Hadid's announcement in August that she would appear at the show in Shanghai stirred the pot anew, with many Chinese accusing her of racism and warning her not to come. People.com speculated that the decision could be related to a Snapchat video Hadid posted earlier this year (that resurfaced this summer after her casting was announced). According to Page Six, supermodel Adriana Lima's visa has also been held up due to a "diplomatic problem".
Up until Thursday, it was understood that Gigi would be joining her sister and walking the show for the third year in a row.
Others are highly upset that Gigi is out of the show, and they're blaming Victoria's Secret for her absence using the hashtag #VSShowIsOver.