Are Chinese Travel Restrictions Turning the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Into an "International Crisis?"

Are Chinese Travel Restrictions Turning the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show Into an "International Crisis?"

From visa issues to strict rules for press releases, the glittering spectacle is becoming an ordeal. 

By Jenny Berg

And to think: All we wanted for Christmas was to see what Gigi Hadid will wear in the 2017 Victoria's Secret Fashion Show. Alas, it doesn't look like this year's show will go off quite as smoothly as we'd imagined. (Don't judge: We were already chilling the champers for our annual viewing party on November 28.) The glittering spectacle — set to tape in Shanghai for the first time ever — has reportedly been plagued with travel-related issues, and Page Six went so far as to dub the lingerie-filled bonanza "an international media crisis." Oof. Let's review. 

Earlier this month, word got out that four models — Julia Belyakova, Kate Grigorieva, Irina Sharipova, and Dasha Khlystun — had been denied visas to China, and would thus be unable to participate in the show. It wasn't immediately clear why the models would be barred from walking the runway Shanghai. But as it turns out, that was just the start of the drama.  (And we don't mean the kind of dramz that's inherent in a $2 million bra.) 

On November 16, Gigi Hadid regretfully shared the news that she, too, would have to put her Angel wings on ice. Hadid didn't share an explicit reason for the abrupt change in plans — and Victoria's Secret is not talking — but the announcement spurned speculation that The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills daughter had run into problems acquiring a visa, too. 

Got room for more bummer? Katy Perry, who was slated to sing at the show, won't be able to make it to Shanghai, either. And the alleged reason, as you may have guessed, is that the singer wasn't able to secure a visa. It seems very tough to get a visa to China, indeed.

Though the reason for all the denials remains unclear, there's a theory that it might come down to social media. Chinese officials might be scrolling through the feeds of models and other celebs set to appear at the show, flagging anything that could be deemed offensive, and denying visas to those who seem trigger-happy on Twitter. 

Then, there's the issue of media. According to Page Six, several fashion bloggers have run into the now-familiar can't-get-a-visa issue. And for those who do want to cover the show, information is hard to come by: Victoria's Secret staffers are allegedly not allowed to send out press releases until they've been approved by Chinese officials. And that, as you may imagine, is said to be taking a while. 

But, there is a bright side: Models such as Bella Hadid and Alessandra Ambrosio are still (at the moment!) planning to walk in the show. And despite all the apparent behind-the-scenes chaos, we're pretty sure it's going to be a dazzling spectacle as always. 

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