Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has a history of losing shoes and another footwear fumble that saw her take an embarrassing tumble in India grabbed the headlines on Thursday.
The nation’s first female leader, who last week won international attention for a stinging speech about sexism and misogyny, had just laid a wreath at a Gandhi memorial in New Delhi on Wednesday when she fell in front of the cameras.
She was walking towards reporters for a press conference when her high heel got stuck in soft grass and she landed flat on her face, but quickly got up and laughed it off.
“For men who get to wear flat shoes all day every day, if you wear a heel it can get embedded in soft grass and when you pull your foot out the shoes doesn’t come,” said the prime minister.
“And the rest of it is as you saw.”
The clip of her falling was played repeatedly in Australia on Thursday and also used on US news shows and social media.
Sydney’s tabloid Daily Telegraph put the tumble on its front page under the headline “PM’s fall from grace”, while its gossip columnist analysed how grass and high heels do not mix.
“Grass – can’t walk across it gracefully in heels, can’t face-plant on it in a cream jacket and get up without stains,” said the newspaper.
“The good news is, Ms Gillard wasn’t bleeding and at least had the style to brush herself off – and have a laugh.”
The Sydney Morning Herald also played on the mishap under the headline “Gillard flat out on Indian tour”, although The Australian broadsheet steered clear.
Gillard has a history of losing her shoes, most notably as she was being whisked away from protesters at a function in Canberra in January. Her footwear later turned up on eBay.
More recently, she slipped out of one of her shoes as she was taking the stage at an event in Sydney, later saying she was distracted by admiring how another woman in higher heels had managed to negotiate the steps.