Who Is Gigi Hadid?
Standing at a height of 5-feet-10-inches — and boasting nearly 50 million Instagram followers — Los Angeles-born Gigi Hadid (real name Jelena Noura Hadid) first began modeling when she was two years old. Born in 1995, Hadid is the daughter of model Yolanda Hadid, a former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star. She focused on competitive horseback riding and playing volleyball at Malibu High School before turning her attention back to modeling at 17 years old. Hadid has gone on to work with brands ranging from Tom Ford and Versace to Reebok and Victoria’s Secret. She has continued her success with nonstop appearances on international fashion magazine covers and on the runways at every major fashion week.
Hadid has two younger siblings, a sister named Bella, and a brother, Anwar. Like their big sister, both are also models .
The Hadid sisters have both walked in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show, starred together in both Fendi and Moschino’s Spring/Summer 2017 campaigns, and, in 2017, became the first siblings to both be included on Forbes World’s Highest Paid Models list.
Gigi has credited Bella, who famously dated singer The Weeknd, as being a source of her strength. “She’s so understanding of the demands of this job, and it’s really great that I can talk to her about it,” she told Harper’s Bazaar. “Because a lot of the time I feel suffocated by my own work ethic and by the expectations I put on myself. It’s really nice when you have people who say, ‘It’s okay to take time for yourself.’”
In addition to two older, paternal half-sisters (Marielle and Alana), Hadid also had five stepsisters during her mom’s marriage to music producer David Foster, including Erin and Sara Foster, the stars of VH1’s Barely Famous.
Forbes estimated that Hadid earned $9.5 million in 2017, placing her at number 5 on their Highest Paid Models list. By summer 2019, she had an estimated net worth of $19 million.
Relationship with Zayn Malik
After a breakup with Joe Jonas weeks earlier, Hadid was first reported to be dating former One Direction boy bander Zayn Malik in November 2015. Malik later recounted their November meeting at a New York City Victoria’s Secret party, saying he was the one who approached the model and asked her out to The Bowery Hotel’s restaurant Gemma for their first date. He’s also called her “a very intelligent woman,” “classy,” “confident,” and “cool,” in interviews.
After starring together in Malik’s steamy “Pillowtalk” music video in February 2016, the pair once again teamed up for their first joint photo shoot as a couple for Vogue that April. Hadid photographed her boyfriend for the spring 2017 Versus Versace campaign and they appeared in another couple photo shoot for Vogue‘s August 2017 cover story.
The couple, who had attended several high-profile events together, including the Met Gala, and London Fashion Week, confirmed news of their breakup via Twitter on March 13, 2018. Hadid, who had also previously dated singer Cody Simpson, tweeted: “Breakup statements often seem impersonal because there is really no way to put into words what two people experience together over a few years. . . not only in the relationship, but in life in general. I’m forever grateful for the love, time, and life lessons that Z and I shared.”
Early Life and Education
Hadid was born in Los Angeles on April 23, 1995, and raised in nearby Santa Barbara, where horseback riding became her first passion. Modeling was in her blood, though, as her mother, former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Hadid was a renowned Dutch model herself. (Her father is Palestinian-American real estate developer Mohamed Hadid.) She has said her modeling career began when she was “like, two years old” after she was discovered by Guess co-founder and family friend Paul Marciano.
After striking poses for Baby Guess, Guess Kids, and finally Guess, Hadid took a break from modeling in favor of competitive horseback biking and club volleyball play. Wanting to “have a normal childhood and go to high school,” she became the captain of the varsity volleyball team at Malibu High School (where she graduated in 2013) and even went to Junior Olympic qualifiers for volleyball.
Upon graduation from high school, she relocated to the East Coast in the Fall of 2013 to study criminal psychology at the New School in New York City. But having signed her first professional contract with IMG Models the same year, her modeling gigs interfered with her class schedule, and she eventually put her studies on hold.
Modeling Career Highlights
Hadid made her New York Fashion Week debut walking in Desigual’s runway show in February 2014, but she credits French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld for her big break when she put her on the cover of her Spring 2014 CR Fashion Book.
In July 2014, she appeared alongside Patrick Schwarzenegger in Tom Ford’s Eyewear autumn/winter campaign, before going on to star in other various fashion and fragrance campaigns for the designer later that year. By January 2015, Maybelline had also named her as their brand ambassador.
Her first appearance on the runway for Victoria’s Secret’s famed fashion show in December 2015 came on the heels of two failed auditions to be an Angel. Hadid previously told Vogue that after the first rejection, she felt she was too nervous and hadn’t gained enough self-confidence to succeed. She officially earned her Victoria’s Secret wings while making her second appearance in the show the following year.
In 2016 she became Tommy Hilfiger’s global brand ambassador and went on to collaborate with the designer on a capsule collection, which she debuted at New York Fashion week that fall. That same year, she began walking in runway shows for designers, including: Versace, Chanel, Elie Saab, Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Anna Sui, Miu Miu, Balmain, and Diane Von Furstenberg.
Hadid went on to debut a boot collection with Stuart Weitzman and also became a Reebok brand ambassador. She has won the British Fashion Awards’ International Model of the Year honor and has been named Daily Front Row‘s Model of the Year.
TV and Film Appearances
Hadid’s first acting experience came when she appeared in a 2012 American Film Institute conservatory thesis project, a short film called Virgin Eyes.
Her next role in a “short film” came in 2014 when she appeared as Slay-Z in pal Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” music video. In addition to appearing in music videos with Miguel, Calvin Harris, Cody Simpson, Joe Jonas, and Zayn Malik, she also directed DNCE’s 2015 “Cake by the Ocean” clip.
Hadid first appeared on reality television alongside her mother Yolanda in Bravo’s The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills between 2012 and 2016. Following her Housewives cameos, she expanded her reality show resume, appearing on Masterchef, Lip Sync Battle, and guest judging on RuPaul’s Drag Race. She also co-hosted November 2016’s American Music Awards with Saturday Night Live alum Jay Pharaoh and later appeared as herself in the 2018 ensemble heist comedy Ocean’s 8.
While addressing social media trolls who were body-shaming her for being too thin in February 2018, Hadid revealed she suffers from Hashimoto’s disease, an autoimmune thyroid disorder. She tweeted: “For those of you so determined to come up with why my body has changed over the years, you may not know that when I started at 17, I was not yet diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease; those of you who called me ‘too big for the industry’ were seeing inflammation and water retention due to that.”
Adding that she’s since been “properly medicated” and was also “part of a holistic medical trial that helped my thyroid levels balance out,” Hadid said that her body now breaks food down differently and wouldn’t address the negative comments anymore, writing, “I will not further explain the way my body looks, just as anyone, with a body type that doesn’t suit your ‘beauty’ expectation, shouldn’t have to.”
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