ABC/Ida Mae Astute(LOS ANGELES) — Gigi Hadid has addressed criticism that she was wrong to fight back against a former TV reporter who manhandled her last week.
In an interview with Lena Dunham for her newsletter, Lenny Letter, Hadid said that her reaction was automatic, and that she doesn’t regret attempting to elbow Vitalii Sediuk.
Her first thought at the time, she added, was, “Get me out of this situation.”
“Honestly, I felt I was in danger, and I had every right to react the way I did. If anything, I want girls to see the video and know that they have the right to fight back, too, if put in a similar situation,” she said. “Practicing self-defense is important so that when you’re in the moment, reacting from muscle memory comes more naturally to you than freezing up. Confidence in your own ability to defend yourself comes with educating yourself about it, and is a massive advantage when in an unsafe situation.”
Last week, Sediuk, who has pulled similar stunts in the past, attempted to grab Hadid outside the Max Mara show at Milan Fashion Week. Hadid, 21, screamed, “Let go of me!” and attempted to run after him, though her bodyguards held her back.
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter, Sediuk confirmed his involvement in the incident and said he did it in “protest,” saying Hadid has “nothing to do with high fashion.”
After the photos and video of the incident went viral, Hadid said her mother, reality TV star Yolanda Foster, praised her for trusting her instincts.
“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,” Hadid continued. “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.”
Copyright © 2016, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.