BELLA OF THE BALL
Once known as “the other Hadid sister”, she’s now the hottest name in modelling — just ask Dior, Givenchy and her 4.8 million Instagram followers By CLARE MACLEAN
BAZAAR gets its moment with fashion’s new darling.
AFEW MONTHS AGO, Harper’s BAZAAR US executive editor Laura Brown reposted a very detailed (and very helpful) diagram of the Jenner/kardashian family web. It covered everything from Blac Chyna’s engagement to Rob Kardashian (and her former relationship with Kylie Jenner’s ex Tyga) to Kris Jenner’s marriages to both Robert Kardashian and Bruce (now Caitlyn) Jenner. And while it’s no secret that models Gigi Hadid and Kendall Jenner are close friends, the diagram offered up a more obscure connection between them. It turns out Kendall’s father, Caitlyn, was at one time married to songwriter Linda Thompson, who used to be married to record producer David Foster, who recently separated from Gigi’s mother, Yolanda Hadid. (Did I mention it was helpful?) The diagram also featured Yolanda’s other children: her youngest, Anwar Hadid, and the model and former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (RHOBH) star’s middle child, Bella Hadid.
While the past couple of years have seen Gigi’s star shine bright on the fashion scene, it’s Bella whose modelling career recently went from hot to hottest when she walked The Unknown Girl red carpet at Cannes Film Festival this year in a barely there red satin Alexandre Vauthier dress. The “moment” came after a steady build-up of standout appearances including her entrance at the Met Gala, wearing Givenchy couture (she was recently shot for the house’s A/W 2016 campaign) with her musician boyfriend, Abel Tesfaye (aka The Weeknd); an earlier event at Cannes with Dior (yup, she’s signed a beauty contract with them, too); and a quick but memorable stint on the runway for fashion label Misha Collection at Mercedes-benz Fashion Week Australia.
It would be easy to explain away Bella’s recent success as the result of her long list of connections — her famous sister, her Grammywinning boyfriend, her RHOBH mother, her 4.5 million followers on Instagram.yet when I see her doing her thing at our BAZAAR Australia cover shoot and manage to sit her down for a chat behind the scenes at the Misha Gold show, what strikes me is her star quality comes more from her contradictions than her connections. She’s one of the politest models I’ve ever met, but she also swears. She’s a natural blonde who went brunette. She’s a former Parsons photography student who found a career in front of the camera.
It also goes without saying that she is incredibly striking.“bella has a timeless beauty that is a rarity,” says Misha Collection designer Michelle Aznavorian, who flew the model to Sydney to appear in the show.“i wanted my collection to have that feeling of refinement and sophistication that can be appreciated in years to come — and Bella embodies that ideal.” And, of course, she works damn hard. When I speak to Bella, she’s spent the past two weeks jetting around the globe from New York to Cannes to Sydney, after which she is set to fly back to France for more Cannes events (cue the red satin moment).“i don’t even know what time zone my body’s on right now,” Bella says. “I’ll have energy for a little bit and then I’ll hit a wall and just crash.” Horrendous jet lag does have its upsides, however, like being awake early enough to catch her sister and best friend Gigi on the phone.“i was up at 3.30 this morning and she is in Newyork, so it was just perfect timing.we Facetimed for, like, three hours. It’s nice to just kind of catch up and have our sister time without any of the cameras or lights.” On luckier occasions, the two will find themselves on different jobs in the same city.“a little while ago I texted her and was like,‘what are you doing?’ and she was like, ‘Oh, you know, I’m on the plane’ and I was like, ‘Oh, me too!’” It turned out they were both heading to London,“so we ended up at the same hotel, just having a sleepover for three days”.
Given her meteoric rise, it’s easy to forget that Bella is only 19. While currently based in Newyork, she’s a California girl through and through, born in LA and raised on a horse ranch in Santa Barbara (more on her love of horses later) before spending her teen years in Malibu. She still loves going “home” to see her family (her dad, real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid, also lives in LA), her boyfriend and her close friends.“i get to be at peace there and it’s so much calmer than Newyork and Europe, which is very fastpaced, so to be able to be by the beach and with my best friends, who I have known since I was 14, is so great because they don’t care about what I’m doing — we can just chill and talk about life.”
Before she pursued her current career, Bella’s passion was horse riding, and she had ambitions to go to the Rio Olympics, but she says she had to pull out due to residual symptoms from Lyme disease.“yeah, that’s a sensitive subject. I don’t ride anymore, which really sucks because I rode every single day since I was three and all through high school — I was really competitive. Anyway, now I’m so busy it’s hard to keep riding.” Still, the discipline she maintained during those years of competitions has come in handy for her new gig.“since I was 13 I would be away at horse shows by myself and I would have to make sure I was up at 5.30am to go ride my horse before the show started, and I think that definitely crosses over with what I’m doing now, because when I’m passionate about something, I want to do my best.”
Indeed, our shoot with Bella is one of the easiest in memory (she certainly knows her angles). Later, I ask whether she ever hits up her mother, a seasoned pro, for advice. “She definitely gives me tips on how to portray myself while I am shooting, both on set and off. She’s taught me a lot, actually.” In an uncanny coincidence, Bella’s just found out from model Cheyenne Tozzi that her mum has an Australian modelling story of her own, having worked here with Tozzi’s mother in the ’80s. “like, literally an hour ago I saw all these pictures of them together and they are old school — they’re so cool.”
While Yolanda’s shoots for various Australian publications were more of the blonde, bronzed beach-babe variety (the woman could rock a high-cut swimsuit), Bella’s look has fallen slightly further from the tree. It says a lot that her favourite red-carpet moment to date is her black Givenchy couture for the Met Gala. “I love Riccardo [Tisci] and when he showed me the dress I was immediately obsessed with it,” she says.“red carpets can be hard because sometimes you don’t want to be in what you are wearing. But he knows me and what I want to wear, and it was one of those times I felt totally comfortable in myself.” It’s also revealing that she loves Misha Collection, especially its resort 2017 collection, which Aznavorian describes as “sleek, flattering wardrobe staples in a primarily black colour palette ... both strong and bold but still soft and sexy.” Bella says, “They sent me the lookbook a while ago — and I get sent a lot of lookbooks — but when I saw it I was like ,‘i love everything.’ So it was cool to be part of a campaign where I actually just want to wear all of it out.”
Then, of course, there is her dyed brunette hair, which she readily admits she likes because it sets her apart from Gigi, but we agree it really suits her. Still, that’s not to say she wouldn’t go back to blonde temporarily. “maybe I’ll do a red carpet with a wig soon,” she says mischievously.and why not? She’s clearly on a roll.
“WHEN I’M PASSIONATE ABOUT SOMETHING, I WANT TO DO MY BEST.”