Bella Hadid is telling all.
The supermodel has recently become much more open about her personal struggles. She’s disclosed her battle with anxiety, talked surviving abuse, and became an advocate for her Palestinian heritage. For a myriad of reasons, she’s been the target of speculation (and sometimes disdain) over the years. And in a new profile for Vogue, she reflected on how all that attention has affected her.
Spilling all, she told the outlet that people often assume she’s “this mean, scary dragon lady, or some kind of a sexbot” — but she wants people to “have a better understanding of who I am.” When she was first coming up, she recalled being the sister of Gigi Hadid left her in a long shadow:
“I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing. That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it.”
Frankly she’s surprised she even got into modeling!
“I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety, depression, 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. I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove. People can say anything about how I look, about how I talk, about how I act. 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.”
The cover girl was adamant that she hadn’t gotten cosmetic procedures recently, shutting down some of the popular rumors:
“People think I fully f**ked with my face because of one picture of me as a teenager looking puffy. I’m pretty sure you don’t look the same now as you did at 13, right? I have never used filler. Let’s just put an end to that. I have no issue with it, but it’s not for me. Whoever thinks I’ve gotten my eyes lifted or whatever it’s called — it’s face tape! The oldest trick in the book. I’ve had this impostor syndrome where people made me feel like I didn’t deserve any of this. People always have something to say, but what I have to say is, I’ve always been misunderstood in my industry and by the people around me.”
However, she did acknowledge for the first time ever something she did have done: rhinoplasty. She admitted she got a nose job at just 14 years old — and actually has a lot of regret about it:
“I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors. I think I would have grown into it.”
The 25-year-old has dealt with a lot behind the scenes: “multiple childhood traumas” that have affected her memory, depression, anxiety, and a handful of physical health conditions including Lyme disease, babesiosis, hypothyroidism, and adrenal fatigue. She admitted:
“For three years while I was working, I would wake up every morning hysterical, in tears, alone. I wouldn’t show anybody that. I would go to work, cry at lunch in my little greenroom, finish my day, go to whatever random little hotel I was in for the night, cry again, wake up in the morning, and do the same thing.”
Even further back, in high school, she was prescribed Adderall for misdiagnosed ADHD, and the “appetite-suppressant effect” triggered her anorexia. She divulged:
“I was on this calorie-counting app, which was like the devil to me. I’d pack my little lunch with my three raspberries, my celery stick. I was just trying, I realize now, to feel in control of myself when I felt so out of control of everything else. … I can barely look in the mirror to this day because of that period in my life.”
Getting help for her mental health has been a huge change for Bella, particularly after an episode of “burnout” in January 2021. (“I became manic. I bleached my hair.”) After experiencing weeks of “nearly suicidal despair,” she spent time in a Tennessee treatment program and began taking medication and getting therapy. She said:
“For so long, I didn’t know what I was crying about. I always felt so lucky, and that would get me even more down on myself. There were people online saying, You live this amazing life. So then how can I complain? I always felt that I didn’t have the right to complain, which meant that I didn’t have the right to get help, which was my first problem.”
This new sense of wellbeing likely came into play as she became more outspoken politically, coming under fire for her controversial pro-Palestine stance on social media. Reflecting on the backlash, she said:
“I truly respect Judaism, and I think it’s a beautiful religion. This is about a government system suppressing people. After that happened, I spent days miserable in my own thoughts, trying to write everything down. And it always just felt like I was damned if I did and damned if I didn’t. I would never want anyone not to be able to have a place that they feel is their home. But I feel that Palestinians deserve the same. It’s a big conundrum.”
“I think that’s why things have been able to last. When you give other people room to have opinions on things that are so personal to you, it poisons it.”
Bella is still so young, but she’s sounding so confident and self-assured these days. We’re so glad she’s in a good place mentally and physically — and she looks stunning as ever.
[Image via Vogue/YouTube & WENN/Avalon]