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Bella Hadid: Joining the VS Collective Is ‘About Taking My Power Back’

Today, Victoria’s Secret announced that Bella Hadid is joining its growing VS Collective, a group of ambassadors—not Angels—who will champion the brand going forward, as part of its mission to embrace diversity and female empowerment. Hadid’s decision to collaborate with VS (alongside nine others including Priyanka Chopra Jonas, Megan Rapinoe, Naomi Osaka, and Hailey Bieber) is particularly surprising considering her history with the lingerie company. Hadid walked in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show for three years from 2016 to 2018, but in 2020 she came forward as one of many models who endured harassment and inappropriate conduct by Ed Razek, a former top executive at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria’s Secret. (Razek has denied accusations but stepped down from L Brands.)

Despite her previous experiences with Victoria’s Secret, Hadid tells Marie Claire she truly believes in the brand’s new mission and feels confident enough in the company’s sweeping changes—including installing several new females on the board and embracing size-inclusive marketing and products—to re-enter the VS fold.

“It is so important for the women we work with to feel safe, supported, and comfortable. And perhaps most importantly, to ensure their voice is always heard,” Raul Martinez, EVP and Head Creative Director at Victoria’s Secret said in a statement to MC. “This is the exact reason we wanted to work with Bella in this capacity.”

Here, the supermodel discusses why rejoining Victoria’s Secret was a move of personal empowerment, how her relationship to femininity and beauty has evolved, and the changes she’s seen the brand embrace.

Marie Claire: How did the opportunity to be a part of the Victoria’s Secret Collective come about and what made you agree to join after publicly separating from the brand?
Bella Hadid: It has been a few years since I’ve done anything with Victoria’s Secret. What magnetized me to coming back was them coming to me and really proving to me that, behind the scenes, Victoria’s Secret has changed so drastically…. There was a type of way that, I think, a lot of us women who used to work with Victoria’s Secret felt. And now, six of the seven [VS] board members are all female. And there’s new photoshoot protocols that we have. So a lot has changed. I feel like the world really deserves a brand like Victoria’s Secret and to also feel represented by it as well.

MC: You said in 2019 that you “never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear,” referencing the three years you walked in the Victoria’s Secret fashion shows. What made you feel like the situation would be different now, that you would feel powerful?
BH: [Joining the VS Collective] was really about taking my power back and having the power over my body be released to myself again…. I think the beauty of what Victoria’s Secret is as a collective is about the conversation. All of us together, Paloma [Elsesser], Adut [Akech], when we sit on set, we’re just grateful for how we feel supported now, instead of how we used to feel, when it was a lingerie company that used to be run by men for men…. I just look around [on set] and I feel empowered again. I feel empowered in lingerie, instead of feeling like my body is some sort of money maker.

MC: Was there hesitancy when Victoria’s Secret approached you?
BH: Yeah, absolutely. It took me almost a year and a half to take the meeting with them. Even having that conversation was very complicated for me because of the way that I had felt in the past. But they came to me with a big presentation about everything that they’ve changed, the way that they’re moving forward with not only body diversity, but diversity of women in general…. Once I sat down with them and had multiple meetings, they were able to prove to me that there are real protocols that are being put in order and put in line to make the best possible environment for us. [It was] also important to me that the world knows that [what I said previously] was not an opportunity to take a company down for me. It was an opportunity to uplift and change the way that women are being seen.

MC: What stood out to you among the changes presented?
BH: They have in our contracts that—which we, by the way, don’t have anywhere else. Not in editorial [shoots], not any other fashion shoots, so it’s incredible to see that a lingerie company had even thought about this—we don’t have to do anything, basically, that we don’t want to do. We don’t need to show parts of our body that we don’t want to show. That’s really important for us as women, because sometimes, going into these sets, we do lose our boundaries. And our boundaries are not accepted. So for them to tell us that we do have that power over our bodies and ourselves—and if we don’t feel comfortable with something we can speak out—that’s super important.

MC: What does being in the Collective really mean or look like to you? Will you be involved in just the modeling aspect of it? Or will you be designing? Will you be advising on some of these practices?
BH: I talk about us a lot because it really is a girl club. Me, Amanda [de Cadenet], Adut, Paloma—we do talk about these things. Like, ‘How can we make ourselves feel more empowered within this business?’ I don’t think shooting lingerie in general is comfortable for anybody—I want to make that very clear. It’s not something that comes easy to anybody…. What lingerie has been to the world is just like, this unattainable, super uncomfortable way to be sexy for your man. What we want to do is really come in, hopefully with another collection that we’ll design, [and] have it be really cool and comfortable and fun and sexy.

MC: A lot of people are skeptical of VS’s rebrand, feeling like it’s too little, too late. Or that the company shouldn’t be given a second chance after making a lot of women feel less than. What do you have to say to those who don’t believe in the “VS Collective”?
BH: That’s a hard question, because I think people are going to have things to say regardless. But I know firsthand how Victoria’s Secret used to make me feel, and now, going onto set every day, there is just an energy that’s switched. I would never work for a company that not only made me feel a type of way, but made the world feel a type of way, until I knew for a fact that real change was going to be made.

MC: How has your relationship to femininity and sexiness grown and changed since you first worked with Victoria’s Secret several years ago?
BH: For me, growing up in a business of beauty, I think it created a lot of insecurities. If they had asked me a couple of years ago to do Victoria’s Secret again, I wouldn’t have been strong enough to stand in my power and do it. Because I was very insecure in general. But I’ve really learned that beauty for me is about that confidence within. And being able to work on your mental health. Being able to work on your internal health.

MC: What being sexy or beautiful mean to you now?
BH: Beauty for me changes everyday. I see beauty within everyone. You know, I think energy is beauty. And I don’t see ugly in anybody or anything—sometimes that’s to my detriment, where I see the good in everybody. But I really do see beauty as an energy vessel. Back in the day, I didn’t work with Victoria’s Secret for campaigns and stuff, I only did the show. And the show was something that was really hard on a woman to put all your worth in the hands of, like, three men who essentially tell you if you’re good enough or not. I think that’s kind of what was wrong with that whole situation in general. It was a standard that was really not attainable. And now, with all of the beautiful women that are a part of Victoria’s Secret, I feel like there’s representation of all different types of beauty.

MC: Did you have to unlearn the toxic views about femininity or sexiness that the shows instilled in you?
BH: Absolutely. I look at my body now as a temple. Before, it kind of got to the point where my body wasn’t owned by me. Now I feel like I own my body again. We all have so many insecurities in general. I wake up mostly every morning not feeling like the Bella that everyone else sees. I do the work every morning to be able to get to that point. And sometimes I don’t even get there. But it really is about keeping that grounding and that love for yourself and understanding that your worth comes from you and not from anybody else. And yes, that was through therapy. And that was through a lot of self realizations and not putting my worth in anyone else’s hand except for my own….

My life for so many years revolved around only working and…how I was going to lose that weight for one of those shows. Now, I just am who I am. And I don’t need to change for anybody else—even when I see things online about people talking about my body or the way it fluctuates or this or that. I wake up in the mornings for me and not for anyone else.


Categories Article

Bella Hadid Revealed the Secret Behind Her Perfect Complexion

To state the ludicrously obvious, Bella Hadid has great skin – and in the spirit of giving this festive season, she decided to let us all in on just what it takes to maintain it. Specifically, she gave a shout out to Manhattan-based aesthetician Madalaina Conti on Instagram Stories on November 29 – crediting the national training manager for Face Gym in the US with transforming her face.

No ad – just a true shout out to my girl,” Bella wrote – lest you thought this might be a Kendall Jenner for ProActiv situation. “She’s the only one I let touch my face and helps me so fucking much with the pain in my jaw and any skin problems I ever have. Lymph drainage helps the body detox, which then helps with the crazy inflammation/puffiness I get from my Lyme [Disease].

In lieu of doing traditional product-based facials with her clients, Conti subscribes to facial massage and gua sha – similar methods to Hailey Bieber’s go-to skincare expert The Skin Witch – with the traditional Chinese practice being especially useful for combating so-called Zoom face. Her pro tips: do your gua sha in the morning to “wake up” your complexion, and make sure to massage your neck as well as your face to seriously decrease puffiness.

And while an in-person session with Conti might be off the cards for the foreseeable, you can register for an online “workout” via FaceGym’s website, with a range of targeted sessions available, whether you’re looking to relieve tension and stress or give the appearance of plumper lips. Who knew a personal training session could be so appealing?


Categories Article Media

I Love New York: Whoopi Goldberg, Bella Hadid, and Jeremy O. Harris Celebrate the City

There is no place like New York. The city immortalized in a million movies, books, and Instagram stories exists on its own wavelength. In attempting to describe this singular place, one inevitably returns to well-worn lines, but 2020 introduced a chilling new narrative.

This spring, the city was brought to a standstill; its vibrancy dulled by shuttered businesses, empty restaurants, vacant museums, and unoccupied streets. The headlines were foreboding, with some declaring that New York was “over.” But a place built on resilience was surely destined to survive.

New York isn’t a landmark or zip code, a coterie of cool people, an art movement, or a moment in time. It is the millions of New Yorkers who give the city its magic. As communities slowly rebuild, Vogue wanted to celebrate everything—and everyone—that makes New York…New York.

The resulting film, directed by Bardia Zeinali, captures a few of our favorite locals in action: American Ballet Theatre’s Misty Copeland pirouetting across Sixth Avenue, musician David Byrne pedaling through the city streets in a tartan kilt, and actor Julia Fox and model Paloma Elsesser slamming on the hood of a taxicab.

These days, this year, I have still loved New York,” says Whoopi Goldberg, reading a script by playwright Jeremy O. Harris. “I love New York—because New York loves me.”


Categories Article Gallery Photoshoots

Get the First Look of Hailey Bieber, Bella Hadid Fronting Versace’s New Ad

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MILAN — Take two of the most prominent “It” girls and models, have them bask in the sun on a Mediterranean island wrapped in rich prints, fluo colors and gold chains, add a pinch of sparkle and throw a couple of drones in the mix: the recipe for Versace’s latest ad campaign is served.

The fashion house tapped Hailey Bieber and Bella Hadid as its muses for a range of images, scoring a high glamour quota. Photographed in Cavallo — a small island located between Corsica and Sardinia — by Harley Weir, Bieber and Hadid are the faces of the brand’s Dylan Turquoise and Dylan Blue women’s fragrances, respectively.

Speculation about Versace tapping the two talents started to swirl in mid-June, when Bieber and Hadid were flown over to Cavallo in a trip that resonated significantly in the press as the lockdown was still impacting life in many countries.

This is the first time Bieber is fronting an ad for the Italian label, after she strutted the catwalk for Versace in the past. Hadid, though, has a long history with the brand, being a regular on the Versace runway and having appeared in its advertising campaigns for the fall 2018 and spring 2019 collections as well as for the Kith x Versace range last year.

Bieber’s official debut with the Versace gang coincides with the launch of the house’s newest fragrance, Dylan Turquoise, which is the third iteration of the Dylan family of scents manufactured and distributed by Euroitalia.

Hadid was called on to embody the Dylan Blue flanker, launched in 2017 as the women’s counterpart of the successful Versace pour homme Dylan Blue scent introduced in 2016.

At the time, Bruce Weber photographed both black-and-white campaigns. The images for the female scent were fronted by Croatian model Faretta Radić, who was portrayed among a range of male talents including Christian Hogue, Trevor Signorino and Jake Lahrman. The concept was in sync with the one conceived for Dylan Blue for men, when male fighters trained in a gym trying to win over the heart of Hadid’s sister Gigi.

These have been replaced by color images of Bella Hadid in a midnight blue look with a plunging neckline and model Louis Baines appearing with a naked torso and denim pants at dusk, respectively.

The campaign will make its debut on Versace’s social accounts beginning Sept. 15 and be featured in print media beginning next month.


Categories Article

Bella Hadid, Live From Quarantine

She may have been holed up on her family farm, but that hasn’t stopped the supermodel from engaging with the outside world. In an exclusive Q&A, our cover star talks life in self-isolation, the future of Fashion Week, and her passionate need to speak up about what matters.

ELLE: Like many prominent people, you have been using your platform to raise awareness about the Black Lives Matter movement. You recently wrote on Instagram, “I’ve been sitting here listening. Understanding. Educating myself. Making calls to demand justice. Donating. And reaching out to friends just in case they feel hurt or lost this week.” As a public figure, what do you see as your responsibility to younger people who look up to you?
Bella Hadid: I have so much responsibility to use my platform for good, especially as I get older. I want young girls and boys to know that it is okay to use your voice and demand justice for what is important to you. I want them to know it’s okay to be empathetic and gentle, but to be strong and speak your truth at the same time.

ELLE: This moment is forcing us to take a hard look at the industries we work in, and fashion has been under particular scrutiny. Where do you think the fashion industry needs to change in terms of diversity and inclusion?
BH: Going into the next season, my fear is having to see another one of my Black girlfriends get her hair burned by a hair straightener, or do her own makeup because the makeup artist hasn’t been trained to work with all different skin types. I hate that some of my Black friends feel the way they do. Even if they’re sitting front row, they’re not feeling accepted. Our industry is supposed to be about expression and individuality, but the reality is that [many people] still discriminate because of exactly [those differences].

ELLE: How do you think things will change as a result of COVID, in terms of shows and how shoots work? Are you personally rethinking the way you work? What does the fantasy fashion industry of the future look like to you?
BH: I’ve had a lot of time to reflect during my quarantine, and I’m really eager to get back to work and make art again. Moving into the next season, I hope we can find a proactive way to move forward in a safe, healthy way. I think that our sets will be smaller and more intimate, which will be nice for a change. We’ll also need to be aware of not using the same makeup brushes at shows, and implement many other health regulations to keep people safe. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do, but I feel with the right people, fashion can change everything.

ELLE: This is not the first time you’ve used your platform to speak about political issues that are important to you: You’ve spoken about attending a protest in 2017 against Trump’s executive order to ban visa entry from seven predominantly Muslim countries, for example. What makes you decide to speak up about a given issue, and do you feel any nervousness about speaking out and possibly alienating your audience? Do you feel that the importance of expressing your beliefs outweighs losing a few followers here and there?
BH: Horrible tragedies happen worldwide on a daily basis, and I have a responsibility to speak up for the people who are not being heard or don’t have a platform. I’ve come to realize that it’s often not about what you say, but how you say it. I never feel nervous about expressing myself when I believe in something. I don’t want any of my followers to feel alienated by my posts, but there are things that I must speak up about. One post can educate a lot of people, and most of the time, what I write resonates with my followers and they realize that they are not alone. I hope people can feel empowered by that. If I am passionate about something, I will talk about it, and talk and talk and talk. For me, it’s not about losing followers or gaining followers, it’s about educating people and giving a platform to the voices that need to be heard

ELLE: Since the quarantine began, you have been living at your family farm in Pennsylvania. What do you miss most about New York?
BH: I miss smiling at people. I miss hugging, a lot. I miss walking around and listening to music. It’s different when you’re in the city. You can walk forever—going nowhere and somehow still feeling like you’ve got somewhere to be.

ELLE: What do you miss most about everyday life pre-quarantine?
BH: Working. After a few years of being a workaholic—not being home for more than five days—I found spending three months at home [intense].

ELLE: You recently participated in a remote campaign for Jacquemus—what was that like? How have these kinds of remote shoots changed the way you approach modeling?
BH: I love both [designer] Simon [Porte Jacquemus] and [photographer] Pierre-Ange [Carlotti]. It turned out great. It was the first online shoot I had done, so I was still trying to figure out the logistics behind the scenes. They are two of my favorite people to work with, and it doesn’t really feel like work when we do! We just FaceTimed, laughed, took screenshots, I changed outfits a few times, and then we were done!