Bella Hadid seemingly has it all: beauty, wealth, fame and a thriving modelling career that most recently saw her walk the runway for Alexandre Vauthier and Jean Paul Gaultier at Paris Couture Week. But the 23-year-old, who followed in the footsteps of older sister Gigi in landing her first professional job at 16, says she didn’t always love the way she looked.
In a candid new interview with Ben Reardon of LOVE Magazine, the supermodel admits that she would often hate seeing photos of herself, and felt ‘mortified’ when brands wanted to work with her.
Bella blames this early lack of self-confidence on having started out too early. “In my opinion I started modelling way too young,” she says. “I was still growing and my confidence wasn’t fully matured. I didn’t love myself, or didn’t necessarily think I was worthy of all of the recognition I was getting.”
Bella, who is the second daughter of Real Housewife Yolanda Hadid and real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid, grew up in Los Angeles and was a keen equestrian until a diagnosis of chronic Lyme disease blighted her Olympic dreams. Modelling was a fallback career, one that proved so successful, she dropped out of school to pursue it.
As a result, she received an informal education from the people she met through her work, developing a strong work ethic, checking her ego and working as a team. “Being a model is about being a team, working together and being creative,” she says. “If I don’t go into a shoot every day and leave being incredibly proud of the work we made then it doesn’t seem like a successful shoot to me.”
She adds that most people’s perception of what a fashion shoot is like is wrong. “It’s intense, really fast-paced, then really slow,” she says. “One thing is always the same: everyone is equally important on set. Everyone is there for the same reason, to work hard and make art.”
The superstar model tells Rihanna about her successes, failures and 2020 drive for authenticity.
Rihanna: Can you please introduce yourself? Bella: My name is Isabella.
Rihanna: What do you think your biggest personal or professional success has been so far? Bella: The biggest professional success for me has been being able to work alongside the men and women I have looked up to and watched since I was young. It’s been a blessing to watch these artists work and I feel lucky to be a small part of their big visions. My biggest personal success will forever be watching my family be healthy and happy.
Rihanna: What has been your biggest failure been and how did you learn from it?
Bella: My biggest failure as a whole is when I don’t trust and nurture my own intuition. I learned that in order for me to grow and know my personal strengths, I need to own my decisions and stand up for myself and what I believe in.
Rihanna: What are you taking with you into 2020, and what are you leaving behind in 2019?
Bella: 2020 is about leading with love and being the most authentic version of myself as possible ! I’ve seen myself and the people around me grow in so many different ways this year, and in so many aspects of life. I surprised myself with what I found and I feel confident that I will be entering 2020 with a new perspective on my own personal, and professional happiness.
V Magazine is making the most out of its 20th anniversary celebrations, which began in August, launching a limited edition of 1,000 2020 calendars in partnership with Guess. The calendar, photographed by Zoey Grossman and featuring the likes of Bella Hadid, Gigi Hadid, Karlie Kloss, LilyAldridge, CarolynMurphy and MeghanRoche, can be bought as a stand-alone for $20.20 or with the new issue.