At just 21, Gigi Hadid needs no introduction.
Her gorgeous looks and slender frame have turned her into one of the highest paid models in the world; as of August, she is "the fifth highest paid model in the world according to Forbes, with an estimated $9 million pay cheque," reported Gulf News.
Hoards of screaming fans greeted Gigi at the mall, a sight she still hasn't gotten used to seeing.
“I still don’t really get it. Like, things still really shock me when a certain amount of people show up just to see me. And sometimes I’m like ‘Why?’. Obviously I am so grateful for everything, but people ask me a lot if I understand the extent of all of this and I’m like, ‘Not really, if I’m honest’. But I guess that’s a good thing ...”
But what's coolest about Gigi coming to the Middle East is that "it feels like a homecoming," according to her.
“I love it here and I love going to places that remind me of my dad’s side of the family.” Gigi's Palestine-born papa, Mohamed Hadid, immigrated to the US with his parents when he was 14.
“I especially love it when you meet other Arabs,” she says. “There’s such a sense of family regardless of whether you are blood related or not anywhere in the world. When someone comes up to me and they tell me, ‘I’m Palestinian’ and we make a connection, it’s beautiful.
“My boyfriend is also half Middle Eastern. It’s just a connection that you make that’s really cool. It’s hard to explain but you feel like you’re amongst [your] people.”
Gigi's BF, Zayn Malik, is actually half Pakistani, but he loves the Arabic language and uses it on his merchandise, which his gf loves to wear often.
While she loves being in the Arab world for nostalgic reasons, she loves coming to the UAE “because you can do everything here.”
“In one day you can go skydiving, skiing and then go deep into the desert. Also my aunt and all my cousins and second cousins live here,” she says.
But let's get back to the real reason why Gigi was in town! The model-turned-designer revealed that it was Hilfiger’s idea to do a capsule collection (which 50% of has already been sold out).
“It was August of last year, I was talking to the Tommy team about shooting a campaign. As I got to work with Tommy, he saw that I was a creative person and liked my attention to detail. As he got to know me, he realised we could do something more fun and creative,” she recalls.
“[Tommy Hilfiger] is a brand that I genuinely and easily fit into by style. I love the clothes and I thought I could bring a more street feel to it. Also they had a really great plan with the whole collaboration, with the tour and the meeting the fans. It was really thought out.”
“I stayed at one for more than eight hours,” she says, laughing. “I just didn’t want to leave. But that’s just what I am. I am not going to leave until every detail was done, until I knew it was perfect.
“Tommy’s collection in the previous season was all nautical. So we wanted to go with a similar theme but I wanted a lot of vintage stuff. I looked through a lot of the archives and brought back a lot of shapes, patches, buttons and ropes. There was a lot of levels to it, but they gave me a lot of space and really listened to my ideas and more than anything made me feel like they want to execute it for me.”
The young model is touring the world to promote her collection, but luckily she has the right people to take care of her.
“I’m thankful I have a team that is aware of how important it is to take time off when you need it. If I worked the entire fashion week month, I’m going to take a few days off and then I can go for another three weeks,” she says.
“Days off are so important, not just for energy but also to stay excited about things. It’s good to work hard but if you always do, you can lose the steam. And if you don’t have a team that will not listen to you or treat you like a human being, then it’s not cool.”
Not only is Gigi beautiful on the outside, but on the inside as well.
“I’ve always said when I go to work my goals are: be nice, work hard and make a friend. From day one, that has been my philosophy,” she says. “If you go to work and touch someone or multiple people, those are the relationships you make that will take you places.
“You could be the most beautiful person in the world, but if you’re hard to work with at the end of the day, it’s not going to last. I want to be someone when they go home, at the dinner table they say, ‘She really surprised me with her niceness’. And maybe the next day, they will push for me or vouch for me in a campaign. And it think that’s how you create opportunity.”
All quotes were taken from Gigi's interview with Gulf News's tabloid!.
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