Bella Hadid: ‘I hate that some of my Black friends feel the way they do’

bella hadid elle

Bella Hadid covers the latest issue of (digital) Elle, in what continues to be another issue devoted to “magazines trying to figure out how to do cover shoots.” The interviews are one thing, and celebrities and journalists seem fine with doing Zoom interviews at this point. But the fact that so many magazines are extraordinarily flummoxed by “what will we do for photos?!?” seems ridiculous. Either send a photographer to do a socially-distanced outdoor photoshoot or just get the celebrity to organize a photoshoot themselves. It’s not rocket science! But here we are, looking at another awkward iPhone photoshoot. Anyway, you can see the full editorial here. Some highlights from the interview:

What Bella sees as her responsibility within Black Lives Matter: “I have so much responsibility to use my platform for good, especially as I get older. I want young girls and boys to know that it is okay to use your voice and demand justice for what is important to you. I want them to know it’s okay to be empathetic and gentle, but to be strong and speak your truth at the same time.

The fashion industry’s race problem: “Going into the next season, my fear is having to see another one of my Black girlfriends get her hair burned by a hair straightener, or do her own makeup because the makeup artist hasn’t been trained to work with all different skin types. I hate that some of my Black friends feel the way they do. Even if they’re sitting front row, they’re not feeling accepted. Our industry is supposed to be about expression and individuality, but the reality is that [many people] still discriminate because of exactly [those differences].

What she thinks will change in fashion because of the pandemic: “I’ve had a lot of time to reflect during my quarantine, and I’m really eager to get back to work and make art again. Moving into the next season, I hope we can find a proactive way to move forward in a safe, healthy way. I think that our sets will be smaller and more intimate, which will be nice for a change. We’ll also need to be aware of not using the same makeup brushes at shows, and implement many other health regulations to keep people safe. There is a lot to learn and a lot to do, but I feel with the right people, fashion can change everything.

Whether she ever censors herself for fear of losing fans: “Horrible tragedies happen worldwide on a daily basis, and I have a responsibility to speak up for the people who are not being heard or don’t have a platform. I’ve come to realize that it’s often not about what you say, but how you say it. I never feel nervous about expressing myself when I believe in something. I don’t want any of my followers to feel alienated by my posts, but there are things that I must speak up about. One post can educate a lot of people, and most of the time, what I write resonates with my followers and they realize that they are not alone. I hope people can feel empowered by that. If I am passionate about something, I will talk about it, and talk and talk and talk. For me, it’s not about losing followers or gaining followers, it’s about educating people and giving a platform to the voices that need to be heard.

What she missed during the lockdown: “I miss smiling at people. I miss hugging, a lot. I miss walking around and listening to music. It’s different when you’re in the city. You can walk forever—going nowhere and somehow still feeling like you’ve got somewhere to be. [I miss] working. After a few years of being a workaholic—not being home for more than five days—I found spending three months at home [intense].”

[From Elle]

I don’t have a problem with anything she said here. She sounds like she’s tried to educate herself on how best to be an ally but not make everything about a performative allyship, you know? I’m especially interested in what she says about the fashion industry and seeing her friends have to do their own makeup because white makeup artists don’t know how to do it, and white hair stylists don’t know how to do Black hair. That’s part of a larger reckoning that needs to happen in the fashion industry and it honestly does not seem like the “powers that be” within fashion are willing to make those changes.

Photos and cover courtesy of Elle Magazine, IG.

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10 Responses to “Bella Hadid: ‘I hate that some of my Black friends feel the way they do’”

  1. Daisy says:

    Gigi actually was the photographer for this shoot. Just shows how much of a difference a professional crew makes in a photoshoot. Professional photographers, stylists, hairstylists, muas, all very important but overlooked compared to the model/celebrity. But anyways, it was a good interview.

  2. Tiffany says:

    I really went in expecting a ton of cringe but I liked what I read here. Bella wasn’t extra (making someone plight all about them) and just another confirmation of how the makeup and hair industry in film and modeling is so white.

  3. Ariel says:

    The title of the article made me afraid she was putting the responsibility on her black friends and the way they feel. But thankfully, that was not the case.
    If even born rich, white girls can understand (to some degree) racism, it gives me hope for the future.
    And i know this is setting the bar low, but i love that she doesn’t sound like a moron.
    She sounds bright and thoughtful.

    • josephine says:

      I think when your Dad is Palestinian and from a Muslim family, you probably have some feel for racism. She may be white, pretty and rich, but even very, very wealthy people experience discrimination. I know what some of my friends went through after 9/11 so I doubt her wealth totally insulated her. So perhaps her own background makes her more aware.

    • Smash says:

      Good comment! Bella does sound intelligent and thoughtful. I’ve always gotten the impression that she’s a kind person and genuinely cares about family and friends, and cares about these issues, and not just in a surface level way. I also hope there will be changes in the fashion industry to address these issues. It truly is unfair.

  4. Eleonor says:

    This is a good interview.
    And I totally relate to hugging and smiling.
    When I came back to Italy in july forthe first time I wanted to hug all the people I care about, friends and family and I didn’t. It was sad: I was so happy, we have all been through so much, and we couldn’t express it.

  5. Jules says:

    What the heck is going on in that contorted first photo?

  6. Snuffles says:

    This isn’t just a problem in the fashion industry. It’s a problem in television and film as well. Actors of color aren’t getting hair stylists and makeup artist that understand their skin tone and hair. Or if you’re Asian, they don’t understand your eye shape and how to do their eye make up. And some also get terrible lighting too.

    Just ask Gabrielle Union or Candice Patton from The Flash. They’ve been talking about it lately. And you can tell when there are black make up artists and hair stylists on a show. For example, I watch Grown-ish just to see what new hairstyle Zoe is gonna rock that week. Will she rock braids, curls, an Afro, wear it straight? A combination of everything? Will she have colored streaks? I love it! Vs, say, Iris on the The Flash who gets the same tired blow out with no variation.

    • schmootc says:

      I watch both shows and never even registered the difference in hair between the two. Thanks for pointing that out. Each time I learn something like this, it’s one more thing I understand better and also possibly see in other contexts.

  7. Mabs A'Mabbin says:

    It 100% sickens me to read about burning hair because of straightening. It’s something I never truly thought about in depth. I knew school kids had hair expectations. My sons had to deal with length issues, and their friends dealt with other rules, and we simply hated all the rules. But to wholeheartedly imagine and envision being made to do suppress, endure and be oppressively silenced over anything natural makes me incensed and retch.

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