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.