Gigi Hadid is the millennial’s supermodel. As one of the most recognizable faces in high fashion, she has graced the cover of countless magazines, both for her modeling and for her scandalous personal life. Behind the striking face, however, lays a surprising history of privilege as well as perseverance. Strike a pose to these 42 shocking facts about Gigi Hadid.
Gigi Hadid Facts
1. Keeping It Simple
Gigi Hadid’s legal name is Jelena Noura Hadid. The name “Gigi” was a childhood nickname given courtesy of her mother.
2. Tinseltown, Born and Raised
Hadid was born on April 23, 1995, in Los Angeles, California, where she was also raised. In other words, her birth positioned her well to make Hollywood and high-fashion connections.
3. A Fan of the Big Houses
Hadid is a second-generation success. Her father is the wealthy Palestinian-American real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, who built his fortune in Middle Eastern automobile ventures and California real estate. Of course, it wasn’t all smooth sailing for the older Hadid: in 2017, he was sentenced to 200 hours of community service and fines for violating city zoning laws in his real estate expansions.
4. The House of Cover-Girl
Hadid is also a second-generation model. Her mother, Yolanda Hadid, was discovered by Eileen Ford of Ford Models and enjoyed a 15-year fashion career until settling down to start a family with her husband, Mohamed.
5. A Photogenic Trio
Hadid’s parents divorced in 2000 when Gigi was just five years old. The marriage also produced two younger siblings for Gigi: sister Isabella “Bella” Hadid” and Anwar Hadid. Both of her younger siblings are also models.
6. Welcome to the Real World
In addition to fashion, Hadid’s mother also laid the groundwork for her daughter’s early entry into entertainment. Yolanda Hadid was a cast member in the reality show The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Gigi herself was featured on a few episodes.
7. Never Too Early to Strike a Pose
Gigi Hadid has been modeling since the age of two. As an infant, she was “discovered” by fashion designer Paul Marciano and went on to pose for Baby Guess.
8. Belle of the Ball
While attending Malibu High school, Hadid captained her school varsity volleyball team. When not serving throws, she was also blazing saddles as a horseback rider.
9. A Formerly Criminal Mind…
Modeling is a tough business, so Hadid had a back-up plan. The model originally planned to study criminal psychology at New York University. However, her fashion career got in the way of her study schedule, and she had to pick one.
Sign up to our newsletter.
History’s most fascinating stories and darkest secrets, delivered to your inbox daily. Making distraction rewarding since 2017.
10. Does She Cook as Good as She Looks?
Hadid is a baking hobbyist. She frequently posts her favorite recipes on Facebook and even took part in the reality cooking show Master Chef. Her personal motto is allegedly: “‘Eat clean to stay fit, have a burger to stay sane.”
11. Saddle Up for Your Close Up
Horseback riding was perhaps more than a hobby for Gigi Hadid. Before modeling, she achieved a high level of proficiency on horseback, and even participated in the Junior Olympics.
12. Guess Who? Her Again
Thus far, Hadid has worked with the Guess fashion brand five times. Paul Marciano put Hadid in her first Guess campaign when she was just a toddler. After a hiatus for school, she returned for Marciano and Guess again in 2012. In her adult life, she went on to shoot campaigns for Guess three more times.
13. Being an Adult Means Taking on Fashionable Responsibilities
Gigi Hadid signed onto with renowned model agency, IMG Models, in 2013. She was less than 18 years old.
14. Talk About Being “En Vogue”
Most models are lucky to get one cover; in March 2017, Gigi Hadid graced the cover of four separate magazines. Moreover, these four magazines were all Vogue covers, i.e. the international covers of Vogue Britain, China, the US, and the very first Arabian Vogue.
15. I’ve Seen this Face Before
Gigi Hadid was arguably the face of 2017. In addition to four separate Vogue covers in March, she also graced the March covers of Cosmopolitan and Glamour. To round it off, she was on the July/June 2017 cover of Harper’s Bazaar.
16. First Lady in Bad Impressions
In 2016, Hadid hosted the American Music Awards…but not without presidential controversy. For a comedic bit, she impersonated US First Lady Melania Trump. A few people found Hadid’s performance to be tasteless, so she publicly apologized.
17. For the Children
In May 2018, Hadid joined the ranks of many celebrities who have worked with UNICEF. The model’s first mission involved visiting Bangladesh on the one-year anniversary of the Rohingya crisis.
18. Pay to Pose
Hadid’s Instagram has gotten her in trouble with the law. On at least two separate occasions, photographers have sought legal action against the model for sharing photos of herself taken by the photographer without their copyrighted permission. One of the more recent cases involves the photo agency Xclusive, who sued her in January 2018 for posting a photo taken of her in October 2018.
Hadid has since removed the photo, but the company is still seeking demands related to profits lost from copyright infringement.
19. Beauty is Not Impervious to Illness
In 2014, Hadid went public with some bad medical news: she had been diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease, a condition that slowly deteriorates the thyroid. As of 2016, she is still afflicted with the condition.
20. Fighting to Stay
Alongside her sister Bella, Gigi Hadid was one of many in New York City who participated in public protests of President Donald Trump’s 2017 “Muslim ban.” On her father’s side, Hadid descends from Palestinian Muslims.
21. Princess Gigi?
Does Hadid have royal lineage? If you ask her father, yes. According to Mohamed Hadid, the family had descended from the Prince of Nazareth and Sheik of Galilee, Daher Al Omer.
22. Excuse Me for Blossoming
In 2017, Hadid attempted to attend the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show … only for the Chinese government block Hadid’s visa “indefinitely” on the basis of a scandalous fashion choice. She had recently worn a sunflower dress to a Taiwanese concert. In 2014, sunflowers became an anti-Chinese symbol in Taiwan after the Sunflower Movement of student protestors. Officials read this as dissent and kept Hadid out of the country.
23. Where Did You Sleep Last Night?
In late 2015, Gigi Hadid began to date One Direction singer Zayn Malik. The couple appeared together in his music video for the song “Pillowtalk.”
24. Can’t Wait to See You Again
From 2015, Hadid and Zayn Malik enjoyed a rather on-again, off-again relationship. Their first break-up occurred in March 2018, only for them to briefly reconcile three months later in June. To date, their last breakup was in November 2018. It seems to have stuck, at least for now.
25. Chosen by Her People
In 2016, the British Fashion Model Council elected Hadid as their Model of the Year. Take that, Zoolander.
26. Who Role Models for the Supermodel?
For her style inspirations, Hadid cites the likes of Rihanna (whom she has called her “girl crush”) and the Olsen twins.
27. Best of Both Worlds
Hadid is open about her Muslim heritage. Her father was a Palestinian refugee; she herself remains a practicing Muslim, who has been photographed celebrating Eid with her loved ones. When asked about her mixed-ethnic background, the model said: “Being half-Palestinian has enriched my life greatly. I think besides the obvious, like growing up around and loving Arab food and traditions, being Arab has influenced me to be open and loving of all backgrounds, realizing that being more of one thing doesn’t make you less of something else.”
28. Sing-Along to My Beauty
As of 2019, Hadid has starred in seven music videos. In addition to co-starring in Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk,” she has also graced the visual-music projects by Cody Simpson, Taylor Swift (most notably in “Bad Blood”) and Joe Jonas’s other band, DNCE.
29. From Jock to Prep
Hadid’s earliest career passion wasn’t modeling—it was sports. In grade school, she became very passionate about volleyball. However, her parents emphasized academics first. Look how that turned out.
30. High Style Runs in Their Blood
In addition to her two younger siblings, Gigi Hadid has two older half-sisters from her father’s first marriage. One of them, Alana Hadid, also went into fashion as a personal shopper and stylist.
31. We Want to Believe
Gig Hadid believes in aliens. She and her then-boyfriend Zayn Malik were very open about this—perhaps too open—and casually dropped their stance on the subject during an interview for Harper’s Bazaar.
32. The Height of Expectations
Hadid stands at 5’10” tall, with naturally blonde hair. What choice did she have but to become a model?
33. From Wearing the Clothes to Making the Clothes
In recent years, Hadid has stepped off the runway to design the clothes. She has since launched two capsule collections under Tommy Hilfiger and also collaborated with Stuart Weitzman on a boot collection.
34. Can’t Walk with the Talk
Hadid is famous for many things, but not her high-fashion walk. In fact, her runway strut was a punchline for much of her early career, where she was frequently described as “less than commanding.” Hadid is frank about this weakness, blaming her naturally flat feet. Since then, she has padded her feet to correct her gait.
35. Blondes Stick Together
Gigi Hadid is close friends with American pop singer Taylor Swift, who sang her BFF’s praises in an email: “As a friend, Gigi is one of the first people I go to for advice. She has this incredible ability to see all sides of a situation and simplify it for you, to see the complexity of people…Gigi’s #1 rule is to treat people the way she’d want to be treated, so she’s on time (or early) to work, says hello to everyone on set, asks them how they are, and actually listens to their response. She is an innately kind and inclusive person who has managed to become a huge power player and businesswoman without ever compromising that.”
36. My Photo Lens, My Heart
Hadid has since tried her hand behind the camera as a photographer—and who’s a better subject than one’s partner? Hadid was the photographer behind her then-boyfriend Zayn Malik and fellow supermodel Adowa Aboah’s shoot for Versus Versace.
37. Catch These Elbows
In 2016, Hadid made headlines for fighting back against a photographer. After a fashion show, the man had approached the model and her sister Bella from outside and lifted Gigi off her feet—literally. Gigi forcefully elbowed the man in his jugular. She defended her actions on Twitter, where she stated: "I'm a human being and had every right to defend myself. How dare that idiot thinks he has the right to man-handle a complete stranger. He ran quick tho [sic]."
38. Pout and Punch
In her spare time, Gigi Hadid is an avid kick-boxer. It’s best not to lift her up without permission…
39. This Statement Was Not Toothless
In 2019, Hadid found herself being sued again for posting a photo (of herself) without the photographer’s permission. This time, the complainant was a paparazzi photographer. Hadid and her lawyers have argued that since she smiled for the photo, she technically contributed to this impromptu photo’s creation. As of date, this case could technically rewrite photography copyright law…
40. From “G” to “Z”
Gigi had then-boyfriend Zayn Malik had private nicknames for each other. He was her “Zee,” and she was his “Gee.” Hey, there’s sweetness in simplicity.
41. Nice Girls Never Finish Last
When Gigi Hadid was 16, her mother was diagnosed with Lyme disease. The ex-supermodel passed on this piece of advice to her daughter, which she retold to Vogue: "If you're not the nicest, most hard-working girl in the industry, there's going to be someone prettier, nicer and more hard-working."
42. You’ll Never Catch Her Red in the Face
Hadid refused to wear blush. For some reason, she hates it and prefers to wear SoCal-style bronzer.