Bella Hadid may look as if she’s got nothing to worry about, but the Instagram-loving supermodel, who is a face of Dior Beauty (she’s fronting the brand’s Backstage collection, out in July), has certainly had plenty of moments of self-doubt.
“People think I’m very confident, but I really had to learn how to be,” says Hadid, who admits to having felt awkward about her “big hips” and “weird face” when she was younger. Now, at 21, not only has she learned to embrace her distinctive features but she also wants to offer hugs to the detractors who leave negative comments on her social media feeds. “People think I got all this surgery or did this or that. And you know what? We can do a scan of my face, darling. I’m scared of putting fillers into my lips. I wouldn’t want to mess up my face.”
Here, Hadid talks about her beauty routine, that time she dyed her hair rainbow, and the one treatment she’d never try.
Did anyone teach you about beauty when you were growing up? I learned about beauty from my mom, though mostly in terms of skin care. She’s always said that good skin is so much more important than the stuff you put on top of it. My dad, meanwhile, never wanted us to wear makeup, so we didn’t. I rode horses, and my sister [fellow supermodel Gigi] played volleyball. In my family, it wasn’t about how you looked; it was about how you competed.
Did you consider yourself a tomboy? I was definitely more tomboy than girlie, but I had a girlie side too. I would wear Dr. Martens with my little plaid skirts and tights to school. I remember giving one of my friends a makeover because she was such a tomboy, even more than me. I would bring her clothes in the sixth grade, and that’s how we became best friends. I learned you can change people’s lives at school [laughs]! That’s where I found my love for fashion.
Did you have to overcome certain feelings of inadequacy as a teen?Yes. I had a small waist and big hips and was kind of chubby. I love them now, but I was always self-conscious of my hips—whereas my sister had a six-pack and was very athletic. And I thought I had such a weird face. I remember very distinctly getting bullied because of my features.
How do you handle it now when people make comments or say negative things? It’s taken me a long time to learn not to listen. I turn my phone off and remember that the people around me are the only ones whose opinions I really care about. Why would I read those comments? They are usually coming more for my character than for my face, which is more hurtful.
Do you ever respond? I don’t. I’ve learned that people are going to hate you and there’s nothing you can do about it except be yourself and love yourself. But I feel people’s energy very intensely. Often I think, “I just want to meet you and tell you I’m not a bad person. You don’t have to be mean to me.”
Right, because it’s about them, not you. I want to write them, “If you’re going through something, I want to be there for you.” There’s obviously something deeper going on. I know it’s not about me personally. We all have our stuff to overcome, and that’s what I want to preach to the kids these days. I went through a serious depression last year, and I think it stemmed from when I was younger and [being bullied by] the kids in school. And now, I guess I shouldn’t be as self-conscious—people tell me that every day—but it’s a personal thing. We all go through it because we’re human.