The most beautiful night on television took place last night. The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. The Angels who have worked and trained and eaten and groomed for the show all year–some of them all of their life–finally got to grace the runway, and all of us, with their untouchable beauty.
These days the phrase “anyone can be pretty if you have enough money” is pretty true. When it comes to fitness, plastic surgery, hair extensions, eyelash extensions, spray tans, skin treatments, you name it, the possibilities are endless and pretty incredible regarding what one can do with one’s self to be prettier. And no doubt the Angels have been immersed in all of said treatments, diet regiments, fitness routines, and anything beauty related for quite some time.
But the bottom line is, these girls are still in a league of their own. No matter how much you spend, you can’t make yourself six-feet tall with thirty-inch hips at a perfectly healthy weight for your body type, and the bluest pair of eyes on planet earth. Not only that, but when you look at the senior Angels like Alessandra and Adriana, they looked like that before they had even made it into the modeling world. You can make yourself prettier, yes, but you can’t make yourself an Angel – you’re born one.
Take Taylor Hill, for example. The girl was found by an agent in a barn in Granby,
Colorado when she was 14, and walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show The Next Year. That doesn’t happen if you’re naturally a cave troll and just happen to know a few good plastic surgeons and estheticians.
The Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show is simply putting supernatural human beauty on display. It’s not even “setting unrealistic expectations for women” because these are literally their own species of women. And as a normal 5’6 average looking person, I love to marvel at their beauty – partially because if reminds me of how I felt when I was four and watched Cinderella for the first time and dreamt about being a princess, and partially because I’m just a superficial human being and LOVE pretty things.
But what’s the best part about last night’s show, and the point, really, of this article?
The Angels weren’t the most beautiful part of the fashion show last night.
Whether you did or didn’t watch the show last night, you’ve most likely heard of Ming Xi by this point in the day. She made headlines not for how beautiful she is, or for how great of a walk she had, but for quite the opposite reason. She experienced what she called the hardest moment she has ever had to go through in her career.
Ming is a Shanghai native, which is where the show took place. At the beginning of the show, they aired clips of her gushing and giddy with excitement to walk the biggest moment of her career in her hometown, in front of her family, her friends and “her people.” You could see, and feel, her pride and excitement as she gracefully walked down the runway wearing a gorgeous, whimsical blue-and-white ensemble with the delicate, white floral wings framing her beautiful face. In a split second, she went from being on top of the world, to hitting her hands and knees on the runway of her dreams with a tiny catch of a heel in her garment.
It’s the kind of moment that gives you chills, and makes your stomach hit the ground just watching it. Similar to watching an Olympic athlete just inches from the Gold Medal crash on their ski course, fall in a race, slip on the ice, fall off the balance beam…It’s not the fall itself that is so tragic. They’re most likely completely fine and not even injured.
It’s the time, effort, and discipline they’ve put in for YEARS coming *so close* to being realized so perfectly, only to watch it be snatched away with the tiniest falter of a step. And not only has the moment they’ve been waiting for vanished in a split second, they now have to face a moment that was never in play from the beginning. The moment of failing at the exact moment you’re not supposed to – the moment where making a mis-step matters the most. Facing the question from yourself ,”What was all of that hard work for if I was just going to fail?” rather than answering, “So, what does it feel like to accomplish your wildest dream come true?” from a reporter. It’s heartbreaking.
But the heartbreak in that moment has NOTHIN’ on what is to follow: the model behind Ming gave up her own perfectly-timed and perfectly-planned walk to grab her hand, help her up, and encourage her to finish the walk and strike the pose despite the fall.
Gizele Oliveira had never walked in a Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show before. This was her first year, and what she described as “the biggest recognition she could receive for all of her hard work.” That is not something people usually consider giving up to be a Good Samaritan. The professional thing to do would be to carry on, act as if nothing has happened, and do your part the way it was rehearsed to avoid messing up the show further.
But rather than “being professional,” Oliveira saw her fellow Angel hit rock bottom, and couldn’t even think about anything else but helping her up. The compassion and
selflessness displayed seeing Gizele give up her most sought after moment, to bend down and help pull Ming Xi up out of one of her hardest moments is the kind of thing that makes you feel your heart grow three sizes bigger, and understand how the Grinch felt on Christmas Day. The perspective she showed communicates that she has her priorities straight, no matter how close her recognition lies – and the respect she will gain from displaying that will far outweigh anything she would’ve gained from carrying on and striking a pose like she was supposed to.
If this sounds a little too “Chicken Soup for the Soul”…sorry, not sorry. But what would you do if the person in front of you, your competition, were to fall right before your big moment – would you give it up to help them up? Do we actually consider others more important than ourselves?
What’s crazy is that these moments give us chills, bring tears to our eyes, make us gasp in disbelief and question what we’d do in that moment – and all that happened was a model helping up another model that had fallen. That display of selflessness is more powerful to us than the basic Gospel story of someone dying for us…instead of us to save us from something eternally horrific. We didn’t fall, and get helped up. We got saved from even taking the fall, and someone took it for us.
So, as this Christmas season rounds the corner, whenever we see this little clip of Ming and Gizele replayed, or come this February, when the Olympics come on and these moments of selflessness and compassion are inevitably aired and hit us straight in the chest…let them remind us of an even greater and completely unexplainable act of selflessness and let’s look upwards for a second and say “thank you,” and live our lives selflessly, compassionately, and filled with gratitude for our Savior.