‘Nothing else matters than you speaking your truth,’ she tells Gigi and Bella Hadid
Yolanda Hadid raised model feminists.
The single momager to world famous supermodel sisters Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid encourages her daughters to speak up to empower their massive fan followings on everything from politics to body image and gender equality.
“I ask my daughters all the time ‘why did God give you this platform? What is the higher purpose of your journey? You weren’t given it just to just post pretty pictures. You were given that platform to make a change, to be a role model, and to get your voice across,” Hadid tells Moneyish.
Yolanda, 53, a Dutch former model, helped her girls get their foot in the door as soon as they turned 18 with the agency IMG Models. Since then, Gigi, 22, and Bella, 21, have both appeared in countless issues of Vogue, walked the Victoria’s Secret fashion show runway and worked with just about every name in the fashion industry from Diane Von Furstenberg to Tommy Hilfiger. Together, they have more than 50 million followers on social media and use their celebrity to champion for gender equality and the fight against sexual harassment with the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements.
“I always demanded respect from the people around me, and I talk with my girls about this. You have to stand your ground. You give everybody respect, but you also have to demand respect for yourself,” she says, of talking to her daughters about standing up for themselves when they’re faced with something they’re uncomfortable with at work.
Most recently, Gigi showed her support for the women at the Golden Globes protesting sexual harassment.
“I too stand with all women, in all industries, from all backgrounds, who have been threatened and/or manipulated into silence. We hear you, & look forward to seeing many of you get your first opportunity to fight back,” she wrote on Instagram.
#whywewearblack I wasn’t at the Golden Globes last night, but I too stand with all women, in all industries, from all backgrounds, who have been threatened and/or manipulated into silence. We hear you, & look forward to seeing many of you get your first opportunity to fight back; if you’re a victim, check out @timesupnow website for legal support 🖤 #equality #timesup
Gigi and Bella are both of Palestinian descent on their father, real estate developer Mohamed Hadid’s, side. Last January, they took the streets of New York City to protest President Trump’s immigration ban. And last month, Bella, 21, spoke out on social media against Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel instead of Tel Aviv.
“The TREATMENT of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated. I stand with Palestine,” she posted to her 17 million followers on Instagram.
💔I've been waiting to put this into perfect words but I realized there is no perfect way to speak of something so unjust. A very very sad day.Watching the news and seeing the pain of the Palestinian people makes me cry for the many many generations of Palestine. Seeing the sadness of my father, cousins, and Palestinian family that are feeling for our Palestinian ancestors makes this even harder to write. Jerusalem is home of all religions. For this to happen, I feel, makes us take 5 steps back making it harder to live in a world of peace. The TREATMENT of the Palestinian people is unfair, one-sided and should not be tolerated. I stand with Palestine. There is no hate against anyone… There are no sides… All religions living side by side.. Now it is Just one man..it has always been a factor of trying to bring peace… Where is the hope..?
But before pushing “post,” she asked her mom for advice.
“When Bella posted the whole political thing, right before she goes ‘mommy, is it okay?’ I said absolutely, you feel it in your heart, you go for it because nothing else matters than you speaking your truth. Not everybody is going to agree with your truth and that’s okay. Sometimes [speaking out] is scary because there comes a lot of judgement and a lot of hate with standing up for what you believe in,” says Hadid.
The mother of three is now giving advice to other mother and daughter teams as the host of Lifetime’s new reality competition show “Making A Model,” premiering Thursday. In it, she’ll help a group of teen girls navigate the cutthroat world of modeling. The girls will undergo an eight week training of physical, mental and emotional wellness — with their “momagers.”
“It was really important to have the moms on the show because we are the foundation of our children’s life. Behind every successful child hopefully is a great mother,” Yolanda says.
That’s why she didn’t let her kids work until they were 18.
“I’ve always been very strict,” she says. “I remember saying to Gigi, ‘You cannot work until you’re 18’ and she would say, ‘Well this other girl’s working at 16’ and she would come and show me pictures of girls that are working. I said ‘I don’t care.’ I’ve been in this industry. I know what it’s like.”
Gigi thanked her for it.
“Four years later, sometimes she [Gigi] looks at me and says ‘thank god that you gave me an extra two years to grow and play volleyball.’ I feel like if you start your kids a little bit later and your kids have a better sense of self, they’re tougher. This industry is really, really judgemental on the way you look and sometimes it’s really hard to handle.”
When it comes to building a successful business brand, Yolanda says be prepared to work the hardest among others in your industry, noting you simply can’t fake it until you make it. What makes her girls so lovable and relatable is their ability to connect with their fans and embrace their imperfections.
“The most successful brands are driven by people that are not afraid to be raw and share the truth of life because life isn’t always beautiful. Life isn’t always easy and I think the more authentic and honest you are the more people resonate with the brand,” she says.
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