Gigi Hadid apologises over Melania Trump impression

Gigi Hadid delivering her impersonation of Melania Trump in a screenshot from YouTube.
Gigi Hadid delivering her impersonation of Melania Trump in a screenshot from YouTube.PHOTO: YOUTUBE

Model Gigi Hadid has apologised amid a critical storm over her impression of President-elect Donald Trump's wife Melania at the American Music Awards.

The 21-year old American star put on a fake Slovenian accent, partially closed her eyes, inflated her lips and mocked Mrs Trump's Republican National Convention speech.

"This is my Melania Trump impression. I've got to get the face right," Hadid said while co-hosting Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles with Saturday Night Live star Jay Pharoah.

The impression triggered a firestorm of criticism on social media and was deemed "racist" and "disrespectful".

Hadid has released a statement on Twitter on Tuesday (Nov 22) apologising to anyone who may have been offended, while defending her impersonation of the future US First Lady.

"I was honoured to host the AMA's last night and to work with some of the most respected writers in the business," she wrote.

"I removed or changed anything in the script that I felt took the joke too far, and whether or not you choose to see it, what remained was done in good humour and with no bad intent."

She said she too has "been the centre of a nationally televised comedy skit that poked fun at my actions and was able to find the humour in it".

"I believe Melania understands show business and the way shows are written and run. I apologise to anyone that I offended. And have only the best wishes for our country," she added.

During the US presidential race, Mrs Trump was accused of using parts of a speech delivered by Michelle Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

"I love my husband, President Barack Obama and our children, Sasha and Malia," Hadid said, in a fake Eastern European accent.

Said One Twitter user: "I'm not a Trump fan at all but Gigi Hadid's frankly racist impression of Melania Trump is really unacceptable."

"What @GiGiHadid is wrong with you? So disrespectful. What if someone did that to Mrs Obama?," said another.

Others said it was "uncomfortable to watch".

Co-host Pharoah was quick to defend his co-host in a Facebook post: "Everybody pump the brakes one damn minute!

"Over the last 8 years the beautiful Michelle Obama has been the victim of excessive slurring!

"The Beautiful Flotus has been called Ape, Gorilla, Monkey, Manish, Ugly, Disgusting,"Not fit to be in the whitehouse", always physically attacked by the general populous, nobody really snaps about it!

"Flotus has always been on point with the wordplay in her speeches.

"At the AMA'S we exaggerated a SPEECH THAT ACTUALLY HAPPENED, where Melania CLEARLY PLAGIARIZED(cause that was the joke) didn't call her ugly, manish, or anything, and everybody LOSES IT?! Really?"