The Next Generation Of Model
For many 23-year-old girls, living their lives in the spotlight and having their every move scrutinised sounds like an intimidating prospect. But then again, Gigi Hadid is not your average 23-year-old girl, and to her, paparazzi are just part of everyday life.
While many aspiring models and actresses tell a story of impoverished beginnings and overcoming adversity, Gigi’s journey to the top was arguably easier than most. The oldest child of real estate developer, Mohamed Hadid and Dutch television personality, Yolanda Hadid, Gigi, (birth name, Jelena Noura) ,and her siblings come from great privilege.
Alongside her sister Bella and brother Anwar, Gigi grew up in Los Angeles and had a self-confessed privileged upbringing. While many in her shoes may take the silver spoon for granted, and adopt a lazy working life, Gigi has always been vocal about her drive to succeed on her own merits.
In a recent interview with Vogue Australia, she said: “I know I come from privilege, so when I started there was this big guilt of privilege. I’ve always had this big work ethic, because my parents came from nothing and I work hard to honour them.”
Modelling was always Gigi’s calling, but where cynics might suggest that her fame and fortune have given her a springboard to success, she was keen to prove to the doubters wrong.
“There are so many girls who come [from] all over the world and work their a**es off and send money home to their families like my mother did, and I wanted to stand next to them backstage and for them to look at me and respect me and to know that it’s never about me trying to overshadow or take their place. So, when I started out I wanted to prove myself so badly that sometimes I would overwork myself.”
Gigi’s first official shoot came when she was just two years old when Guess Clothing designer, Paul Marciano, discovered her. This led to Gigi modelling Baby Guess for the brand before her parents decided she should concentrate on school.
However, this love for modelling did not waver and when she finished school at 16, she again teamed up with Marciano becoming the official face of Guess in 2012.
Even from an early age Marciano knew that Gigi was destined for success, in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter he said: “From day one I said, she’s going to be a star. She came out with big lips, little tiny nose and big blue eyes. I said, “My God, this girl!” At just one day old! She’s done 12 campaigns with me now.”
Whilst she continued her close working relationship with Marciano, her real big break came in 2013 upon signing with IMG Models. This decision saw her make the 2,797 mile move from LA to New York and the move paid off, as less than a year later, she’d made her debut at one of the biggest events on the fashion calendar – New York Fashion Week.
Less than a month after that Gigi was the cover star on CR Fashion Book magazine, and this marked the beginning of floods of publications itching to have her face on their cover and in their pages. Now, she has become a resident feature in Vogue, Elle, Grazia, Vanity Fair and many more.
Her striking eyes and long blonde hair meant that she quickly became the top choice of brands and fashion houses across the world and as Gigi’s career progressed, she went from rising star to the most famous model in the world in a flash.
In 2015 she claimed her wings and made her first appearance at the iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show and has become a crucial part of the VS family ever since. An editorial model through and through, she has walked for the likes of Versace, Chanel, Marc Jacobs, and Tommy Hilfiger to name just a few.
You’d be forgiven for thinking the confidence she exudes on the runway flows through her body, but despite her reputation as one of the best in the business, stage fright still rears its ugly head prior to hitting the catwalk.
Much of this is about her constant desire to better herself, prove her worth and improve her performance – an invaluable trait that you don’t see in every model, particularly at this high level of the industry. In an interview with Bazaar she explained how she is always anxious to make a good impression on the runway.
She said: “I’ve really been working on trying to get better and to learn from every show, so I take it as a learning experience , because I always want to do my best. But I think it’s always going to be nerve-racking for me. There’s always a little thing, like the shoes [are tight] or the dress is heavy or whatever, so that’s what you’re focused on, to make sure your walk is going to go well.”
Over the years there has been plenty of controversy in the modelling industry, particularly when it comes to concerns regarding body shape and body shaming. Despite herflawless figure, even Gigi has become a victim of horrific abuse online about her appearance. As one of the most famous models in the world she realised she needed to take a stand against this kind of abuse. One of the main reasons her body has changed so significantly was due to the fact that she was diagnosed with the autoimmune condition Hashimoto’s disease in 2014.
In an inspirational Twitter post she announced that: “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 @ 17 I was not yet diagnosed Hashimoto’s disease; those of you who called me “too big for the industry” were seeing inflammation & water retention due to that.”
Going on to say “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. Please, as social media users & human beings in general, learn to have more empathy for others and know that you never really know the whole story. Use your energy to lift those that you admire rather than be cruel to those u don’t.”
Now, it seems you can’t keep Gigi out of the headlines, whether it is paparazzi snaps of her and on/off boyfriend Zayn Malik or popping up on popular television programmes such as RuPaul’s Drag Race, Lip Sync Battle and as a host on the American Music Awards. But, as she has with her entire career, Gigi has taken it all in her stride.
Splitting her time between magazine shoots and hitting catwalk runways across the world, Gigi has even found time to star in music videos alongside Zayn Malik, Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris.
With her strong work ethic and ethos of being ‘focused disciplined and motivated’, Gigi is sure to continue her successful career, long into the future.