Gigi Hadid felt she was "in danger" when she was grabbed by an unknown man in Milan.

The 21-year-old model elbowed the man when he tried to pick her up and has now defended her actions and urged others who may find themselves in a similar situation to not worry about defending themselves.

She shared: "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.

Gigi Hadid, an avid kickboxer, defended herself against the attacker. Photo / Splash
Gigi Hadid, an avid kickboxer, defended herself against the attacker. Photo / Splash

"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."


And Gigi - who is dating Zayn Malik - impressed herself with her own quick reflexes when it happened.

She added: "I remember taking the time, as it all felt slo-mo, to look at him, a stranger, and my first reaction was, 'Get me out of this situation.'

Read more:
Watch: fun and games with the All Blacks
From controversy to sexual harassment

"I played volleyball, and my coaches talked about muscle memory. I started boxing two years ago and I always remembered that. Since then, I hadn't been in a situation that forced me to fight back, but it just came out when he grabbed me - it wasn't a choice. I do have that fighter in me."

And the blonde beauty can't believe people are calling it a heroic action as it was just instinct.

Speaking to Lena Dunham for Lenny Letter, she added: "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.

"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."

- Bang! Showbiz