Many thought Gigi Hadid's impression of Melania Trump at the American Music Awards Sunday night was hilarious — but "messed up" is a more accurate description.
The 21-year-old model and AMA host squinted her eyes, pouted her lips, prepped her best Slovenian accent, and looked straight into the camera to say: "I love my husband, President Barack Obama. And our children, Sasha and Malia."
Hadid's impression made fun of Melania's infamous RNC speech in July that plagiarised from Michelle Obama. But the overall goal? Make Melania look stupid — and ridicule her for her accent.
You don't have to be a fan of Melania to think Hadid's performance was cringeworthy at best, small-minded at worst. Lampooning someone's intelligence and accent (and thereby their status as as immigrant) is something Donald Trump would do — and we would certainly criticise him for it. Hadid isn't trying to be the president of the US, but she is setting an example to all her (mostly young) fans that it's OK to mock someone for how they talk and look.
Hadid's impression was just one of the night; her co-host and former Saturday Night Live cast-member Jay Pharaoh also impersonated Donald Trump and joked that Uptown Funk was all about him. So why was his routine OK? The president-elect's ridiculously callous and boastful personality provides plenty of fodder for well-deserved takedowns from comedians. Just ask Alec Baldwin.
Melania is certainly open to criticism as first lady, too — like calling out how ironic her anti-bullying platform is — and for being complicit in Trump's rise. But throughout the election, she has been the subject of too many memes and jokes teasing her not for anything of substance but for her appearance and the idea that she's vapid and unintelligent. We have to ask ourselves: would she receive this much criticism if she were American-born? It's time we stopped making fun of her for the things she can't control when we condemn her husband for doing the same.