Dolce & Gabbana Model Reveals That ‘Racist’ Campaign ‘Ruined’ Her Career
By Mikelle Leow, 23 Jan 2019
Video screenshot via Diet Prada
Dolce & Gabbana had an unfortunate 2018 following the launch of a campaign in China that was labeled “racist.” The ads, created to mimic instructional videos, centered on a young Chinese female who was being educated on how to eat Italian specialties like cannoli, pizza and pasta using chopsticks. The model, Zuo Ye, has since expressed remorse for her involvement in the commercials.
D&G’s controversial campaign, ‘DG Loves China’, was disparaged by people around the world for being condescending not only to China, but also women. As a result of the backlash, customers, celebrities, and retailers alike have boycotted the brand. D&G was also forced to cancel what would be its largest fashion show ever, and its founders apologized for causing hurt to consumers.
A couple of months after the branding debacle, Chinese model Zuo Ye took to Chinese social network Weibo to apologize for participating in the campaign.
“Personally, I would never show any disrespect to my motherland,” she wrote in a post, translated by South China Morning Post. “I love my country and feel proud to be able to represent China on the catwalk.”
Zuo, who recently graduated from South China Agricultural University, said she was “very guilty and ashamed” about the controversy.
“I will draw a lesson from this and show the Chinese in a better light,” she said. “Again, I apologise to my fellow countrymen.”
Zuo said she had remained silent amid the uproar, as she was not a public figure and did not want to add fuel to the fire.
She had agreed to working with D&G in the campaign, thinking that being featured an internationally-renowned would help advance her career. Unfortunately, the partnership “almost completely ruined” it.
Zuo also stressed that she was told she would perform in a “fun video” about Italian cuisine in her brief.
In the three-hour shoot, the adverts’ director had instructed her in English to express surprise, bewilderment and appreciation of the food items placed in front of her. Zuo recalled feeling “awkward” during the filming process.
She also questioned the choice of “larger than normal” chopsticks used in the shoot, but said she was told to just follow the script.
Zuo recounted that she couldn’t bring herself to react as instructed initially. “I asked, ‘Are you kidding me? With chopsticks?’ The director said, ‘Yes! I know it’s hard. Just try to do that.’”
“…I seldom laugh in my daily life but the shooting required a lot of extravagant acting and I felt very uncomfortable, too.”
She added that she could not watch the adverts in their entirety, nor comment on them, before their release as she was a just a regular model.
You can watch one of the offending videos, captioned by fashion Instagrammer Diet Prada, below.
View this post on Instagram
#DGlovesChina ? More like #DGdesperateforthatChineseRMB lol. In a bid to further appeal to luxury's covetable Chinese consumers, @dolcegabbana released some hella offensive “instructional” videos on the usage of chopsticks. Pandering at it's finest, but taken up a notch by painting their target demographic as a tired and false stereotype of a people lacking refinement/culture to understand how to eat foreign foods and an over-the-top embellishment of cliché ambient music, comical pronunciations of foreign names/words, and Chinese subtitles (English added by us), which begs the question—who is this video actually for? It attempts to target China, but instead mocks them with a parodied vision of what modern China is not...a gag for amusement. Dolce & Gabbana have already removed the videos from their Chinese social media channels, but not Instagram. Stefano Gabbana has been on a much-needed social media cleanse (up until November 2nd), so maybe he kept himself busy by meddling with the marketing department for this series. Who wants to bet the XL cannoli “size” innuendos were his idea? Lmao. • #dolceandgabbana #altamoda #rtw #dgmillennials #stefanogabbana #shanghai #chinese #italian #cannoli #meme #wtf #dumb #lame #chopsticks #foodie #tutorial #cuisine #italianfood #asianmodel #asian #chinesefood #dietprada
A post shared by Diet Prada ™ (@diet_prada) on
[via South China Morning Post, video and cover image via Diet Prada]
More related news