As Bella Hadid exited the Michael Kors spring 2018 show (where she had walked the runway wearing flip-flops), she was escorted out of Spring Studios in Soho by her security, who was trying to clear the sidewalk from overzealous photographers and gawkers alike. And that's when things got dangerous. A member of Hadid’s security team pushed Cris Fragkou, a Refinery29 photographer, out of the way. Immediately, Hadid grabbed the security guard, yelling “Can you please not touch her?” twice, before asking Fragkou if she was okay.
Unfortunately for Fragkou, this isn't the first time a security detail has gone over the line. Three season ago in Paris, she was picked up by a security guard. She kicked and screamed, asking to be put down, while the security guard’s subject, another woman, did nothing. “I remember looking up at her, and we made eye contact, and she just kind of put her head back down,” she tells Refinery29. “The shocking part of that for me was that you’re seeing another woman being manhandled, and picked up off of the ground. So yeah, I know to avoid those sorts of situations.”
She continued: “I didn’t realize this was going to turn into such a thing. I know that these situations can get rough.I’m short. I’m female. I try to avoid them as best as I can. But at the same time it is my job. If I see an opportunity to get a photo, I’m going to get a photo. When I entered the situation, the crowd wasn’t that big at all. I wouldn’t enter a situation that wasn’t safe because I know that I get anxiety if I feel trapped.”
On Wednesday, Fragkou saw an opening and took it, not realizing that it would put her in harm's way. “Suddenly, I realized I’m at the front of this crowd and that’s not a good thing, so I put my camera down and I turn around to get in the back. There’s an orange barrier that you can see in the video (below) and it’s blocking me. So I turned back around to the front, and the security guard starts pushing me and I’m not even taking a picture, my camera is down at my side. He’s shoving me and because there is an orange barrier on the side, I can’t go anywhere.”
As Fragkou found herself on on her knees, having almost smacked her head on the pavement, someone next to her screamed “Sue him! Sue him!” She thinks it was then both Hadid and the security guard realized the gravity of the situation. “I could see on his face he knew that he had obviously done something wrong.”
"[Hadid] grabbed me by the hand and asked if I was okay,” Fragkou recalls. But still in shock, she wasn't able to speak.
“I wanted to say thank you, but I’m too freaked out,” she adds. “I would have been able to get out of that situation either way but it’s the fact she acknowledged [that] her body is no more important than my body. Whether it’s a small photographer stuck in a crowd or Bella Hadid getting bothered by the paparazzi, we’re all equally important. [Whereas] for the bodyguards, [it’s often] if you’re not famous, if you’re not important we’re just going to treat you like shit.”
“Thank you for doing the decent thing and acknowledging that I’m also human as much as you are.”