You don’t have to be a runway devotee to have noticed that Bella Hadid has become a force to be reckoned with. The 20-year-old sister of Gigi Hadid has fully stepped out of her sister’s shadow, with high-profile fashion show appearances, magazine covers, and multiple print campaigns under her belt. But a certain proclivity for publicity doesn’t mean she’s an open book: Here are five things you probably didn’t know about Bella Hadid.
1. Hadid began riding horses “since [she] could walk” and developed into an accomplished equestrian.
“You know how every model is like, ‘I do yoga?’ Well, I find horses have the same effect,” she once said. In 2015, Hadid revealed that she was even training for the 2016 Olympics. Her mother, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Yolanda Foster explained in a January 2016 blogpost that her daughter’s equestrian ambitions were curbed by her having contracted Lyme disease. (Her mother and brother, Anwar, both also have it.) “She is resilient and focused on a new direction,” Foster wrote. “She’s made a name for herself in the modeling industry while she struggles with symptoms of chronic Lyme every day.”
2. Before she followed her sister’s footsteps to the catwalk, Hadid moved to New York to pursue a degree in photography.
While she reportedly had been interested in the subject since childhood, it took time for her to adjust to being in front of the camera. “There wasn’t really one time in my life where I was like, ‘I want to be a model!’ It was more Gigi’s thing,” Hadid told Teen Vogue in 2014. “I do like being in front of the camera more and more. Having experience behind it has taught me about lighting and angles, how to move, and what looks good and what doesn’t.”
3. Hadid dyed her naturally blonde hair brown to distinguish herself from her older sister.
“I just have a darker personality. And my sister being blonde and me being brunette, it’s a good separation,” she has said. “I put a blonde wig on and think it would be fun to go back, but I’m happy with my hair. Blondes are so angelic. My sister can get away with anything.”
4. According to the model, she is most often compared to another well-known face:
Jennifer Lawrence. (“Multiple times a day,” says Hadid.) They eventually found themselves face to face at the 2015 Met Gala. “I don’t even know if she knows that. I swear we made eye contact,” Hadid has said. “I had to shake her hand while we walked in, and I was like, ‘This is so weird.’ I don’t know if she did a double take or whatever, but it happened.”
5. Hadid doesn’t consider her very public split from The Weeknd to be her first big breakup.
While battling Lyme disease, a 16-year-old Hadid made the tough decision to part ways with who she considered her first true love: a horse named Lego. “I rotated between a few horses that could jump higher or whatever. But Lego was my main, my ride or die,” Hadid revealed in an interview this February. “When I had to sell him, it was like a breakup! I was really traumatized.” Hadid continued: “You can ask any equestrian: You develop a crazy, emotional connection with this animal. When you’re riding a horse, they have full control over you, and they can literally kill you in a second, so you build a trust with them.” After that type of trauma, a tabloid-ready split’s nothing.
Bella Hadid is sitting cross-legged in her private bungalow—a sanctuary of sorts for the model, amidst a packed day of shooting the Nike Cortez campaign around Hollywood. “If I overwork my body, I can tell almost instantly,” Hadid divulges as she sweeps her dark hair to one side. “I used to just blow it over and keep working, but now I know I need to take a break. I need to be able to take some ‘me’ time throughout the day, because it can get hectic.”
Hadid’s been on a seemingly endless world tour—always on a runway, starring in infinite campaigns, baring legs on the red carpet of Cannes, and peppering in much-needed paradisiacal vacations with her equally clouted best friends. And while she’s always does overtly glamorous things, she almost always rather be in sneakers. “I love wearing a pair of Levi’s with a t-shirt. The [Nike] Cortez is amazing on its own, but to be able to put it with any outfit is so cool. You can mix and match it with a black dress or Levi’s or sweatpants—whatever you want,” she tells us. “I probably have fifty pairs of sneakers. I need to start donating them, I feel bad having that many.”
It only feels a bit ironic that we find ourselves talking about balance with the model during the few minutes she has for lunch between shoots. But it doesn’t seem to phase her. “Right now I don’t have a lot of time to do anything,” she laughs while twirling the gold signet ring on her finger. “I used to love going to yoga on Thursday nights to just chill and breathe, and have an hour to not think about anything but myself.”
While she claims to not be “really big on exercising,” Hadid tries to stick to a few healthy habits nonetheless. “When I first wake up in the morning, I always have my lemon water. It just feel a little healthier than drinking regular water,” she says. “I feel better when I have a lot of greens and drink juices. When I eat badly for a while, I need to do a Monday-Wednesday cleanse to be able to flush everything out and detox.” But extremes aren’t really her thing—although she does confess to trying out a particularly intense cleanse once, “I’ve done some crazy shit. This lemon cayenne juice cleanse is next level. It doesn’t sound crazy and then once you’re in it and you’re like, ‘What is life? What is going on?’”
Hadid openly struggles with Lyme Disease, an autoimmune disease, which she’s said often leaves her bedridden. She credits a healthy lifestyle for giving her the energy she needs to make it through her day. “My body can’t handle aggressive workouts. [For me] it’s more about being the best I can be, not about losing weight. [Weight-loss] comes naturally, but it is about being fit and feeling strong. When I wake up in the morning and I don’t feel strong, I feel like I shouldn’t even get out of bed.”
The 2017 Cannes Film Festival red carpet continues to heat up with Rihanna and Bella Hadid making their way up the Palais des Festivals steps tonight for the première of “Okja” starring Tilda Swinton — both dressed in Dior. (The night’s leading lady opted for a custom gown by her go-to designer and bosom buddy, Haider Ackermann.)
“Cannes is where all of fashion and entertainment comes together,” said Hadid, fresh from the makeup chair of Dior’s Peter Philips. “It’s one of the most beautiful red carpets in the world, but there’s also the most incredible light here,” added Hadid who wore a quilted red gown from the house’s spring couture collection.
Her favorite movie is ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’ she said, adding “It’s generic, but such a beautifully made movie.” So does she have any acting aspirations? “For sure, one day. I’m really bad at memorizing words, so that’s something I have to figure out,” said Hadid. “But it’s such an incredible career, and if I’m lucky enough to get into it eventually, I’d be so happy.”