News & Runway

Gigi Hadid on Why the Instagirls Are Just Misunderstood



Basketball and fashion are having the best week ever. Fashion Week and the NBA All-Star game are happening at the same time and the two have been intermixing quite a lot, particularly last night at Made and Maybelline New York’s cocktail shindig at Milk Studios. 

Along with athletes like New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz and Cleveland Cavaliers forward-guard J.R. Smith, model and Maybelline brand ambassador Gigi Hadid was also on hand, hosting the event with Smith. The 19-year-old model is positively blowing up right now. She just snagged her very first solo Vogue cover for the magazine’s Spanish iteration, makes a reprise in this year’s Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue and is one of this month’s Teen Vogue cover girls. Simply put, the girl is unstoppable.

It seems all this success has come pretty quickly in a short amount of time for Gigi, who told us her mother would not let her sign a modeling contract until she was 17. “My mom left home when she was 16 and didn’t finish high school and had to come to America and go to other countries and send money back to her family,” she said. “She really wanted to give me the opportunity to finish high school and play sports. I played volleyball, basketball, I rode horses. I did a lot of things I wouldn’t have done if I’d started modeling earlier. I did Guess when I was really young, but I did stop when I was in school.”

The buzzy model is hitting her stride in this industry at a very interesting time for models. As the daughter of a former model and current The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member, Yolanda Foster, she’s among this new crop of muses that include names like Kendall Jenner — the Instagirls, whose social media presence has effectively helped build their careers. We’re smack-dab in the middle of a new era of up-and-coming supers, a fact not everyone is happy about. Naomi Campbell, who will forever remain a modeling legend, recently lent her opinion on the Instagirl generation, describing their success as “easy come, easy go” to Meredith Vieira. Of course, it’s tough to please everybody, but it’s becoming clear that these Instagirls are a bit misunderstood.

“It’s not really our fault that we were born in the generation of Instagram,” Gigi told us. “I think that the success of our careers shows that we’re taking advantage of the time. We’re using it in the right ways and we’re becoming real ambassadors for the brands we’re working for.” And of course they are. Gigi herself boasts 1.8 million followers on Instagram and 234,000 on Twitter. That’s quite a following and certainly an attractive perk for brands in search of ambassadors. It’s like having a built-in audience to sell to.

“I respect all the supermodels that I still love, Kate, Naomi and all those girls. I look up to them so much and they still have such amazing careers,” Gigi continued. “We all hope to be like them, and we don’t take anything away from them. We know they worked really hard and everything. We’re working hard, too! We just get to have Instagram also.”