Bella Hadid opened up about her struggles with mental health and insecurities in a new cover story for Vogue.
The 25-year-old supermodel reflected on her experience growing up with Gigi Hadid, her 26-year-old sister, who is also known as one of the fashion industry’s most in-demand muses.
“I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing,” she said. “That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it.”
“I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety,
, body-image issues, eating issues, who hates to be touched, who has intense social anxiety — what was I doing getting into this business? But over the years I became a good actress,” she continued. “I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove.”
The Hadid sisters, as well as their younger brother Anwar Hadid, were raised by Yolanda Hadid — a former model who went on to star in “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” — and real-estate mogul Mohamed Hadid.
As noted by Vogue’s Rob Haskell, many people have criticized Bella’s successful career as the result of wealth, privilege, and nepotism. However, the industry professionals he interviewed for the article attested to her “flawless reputation” and “hard work.”
“People can say anything about how I look, about how I talk, about how I act,” Bella said. “But in seven years I never missed a job, canceled a job, was late to a job. No one can ever say that I don’t work my ass off.”
For her part, Gigi told Vogue that she has wanted to help her younger sister “in her moments of darkness or pain,” but has also wanted to empower Bella to make her own choices.
“Bella leads with her heart, and that’s beautiful, but you learn the hard way to guard yourself,” Gigi said. “Most people, myself included, build at least a small wall, after you feel vulnerable in these often unusual life situations. It seems to me like Bella does not — or she only puts up one brick at a time.”
“Because I know that she’s sometimes internally struggling in the midst of all the flashing lights, the big sister in me wants to be protective,” she added. “But I also know that that’s the magic of Bella.”