With millions of Instagram followers watching her every move, prestigious beauty and fashion houses bending over backwards to work with her and one of the most distinctive looks in the industry, Bella Hadid is among the roster of next gen supermodels.
It’s little surprise, then, that hundreds of teenage girls (and boys) have been lining the Cannes Croisette for hours in anticipation of the model’s arrival. “Bella, Bella!”, they scream as the lithe-limbed star arrives fashionably late, naturally, at the Magnum x Cannes venue at the annual film festival.
Bella is in the French Riviera to celebrate her new collaboration with Magnum; the star and her fashionable friend, Alexander Wang, have teamed up to work with the iconic ice cream brand. Despite the fact the duo are running late, Bella takes the time to sign autographs, pose for selfies and speak to her fans one by one; proof in itself that the 21-year-old isn’t ‘affected’ by her position and is keen to give time back to the army of fans who endorse her online brand with every like and comment. This is later reiterated when I sit down to interview her.
A bundle of energy, Bella immediately makes you feel like her best friend; two minutes into our chat and she’s already complimented my dress and invited me on holiday to Lisbon. She’s self-deprecating, laugh-out-loud funny and the kind of girl you really want to go on a night out with (luckily I got to do that later on).
Of course, one look at and you’d be mistaken for believing she has a life most women would dream of, jetting between the hottest parties and fashion shows with her gaggle of famous gal pals. But Bella will be the first to admit that while she appreciates that she's ‘so lucky’ to lead the life she does, she’s actually happiest in a scenario far removed from the one we pour over on her Instagram.
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“My friends are always waiting for me on the sofa when I get back from trips and I love downtime just watching movies, just like you,” she tells me.
“I love watching cartoons, it’s all I do. I also play video games and buy weird toys and little trinkets.”
Of course, Bella has a penchant for a party and put in a stellar display at the Magnum x Cannes party later that evening (where she was spotted cosying up with ex-boyfriend, The Weeknd), but taking time out for herself is what keeps her grounded in the fast-paced and fickle world of fashion and showbiz. “The food and champagne are the pleasures of Cannes but it’s so important to make time for myself.
“I work so much and meet so many new people every day so I like to just take time for myself to reflect on what I’ve done and stay centered. We take daily life so seriously but we forget to take our happiness seriously. I make a point every day to put myself first before I get stuck in the ruckus.”
It seems she wasn’t lying; when asked what she wanted in her ‘rider’ (the hamper that celebrities have waiting in their room), Bella simply asked for sweets and a sheet mask (the MZ Skin Hydra-Bright Golden Eye Treatment Mask, if you’re asking).
“Taking care of your skin over anything is the one beauty tip I swear by,” she said of her ride-or-die beauty hack. “It’s the one tip that my mom gave to me. Before makeup, it’s always about what’s underneath, so I like to switch up my products a lot and try the best thing that works for me. So, as well as drinking a lot of water, keeping your skin the best it can be and really taking care of yourself before you apply your makeup is my ultimate beauty hack.”
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It seems to be working for her - beauty houses are clambering over each other to sign the star as the face of their brand (she’s currently Dior’s postergirl). The same rings true for fashion houses; the star has walked the runway for every designer and has a CV boasting Chanel and Giuseppe Zanotti campaigns.
Rather than just putting her name (and genetically-blessed face) to a brand, Bella tells me she’s fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes at fashion houses.
“I get to see such an inside look at the designers and the way they work. The designers’ brains work so fast, and to be a part of that and see the way they work is what really fascinates me.”
So what scares her about the fashion industry? “The girls that don’t realise how beautiful they are,” she reveals. “It makes me sad because sometimes people get wrapped up in the fashion industry and think it’s about the way you look but it’s more about everyone working together collaboratively, and it’s a really beautiful industry when you look at the good sides of it.”
As well as counting designers like Alexander as a close industry friend, Bella is lucky to work alongside sister and fellow supermodel-in-the-making, Gigi Hadid. The pair have walked the catwalk together, have the same tight-knit group of friends and recently posed naked together on the cover of British Vogue.
“When I came out of the womb and she was the first one to hold me, I asked myself ‘how am I this blessed to have a sister like this?”. I love her to death and have had so many ‘pinch-me’ moments with her, in fact, I have them every day.” Bella reminisces on the duo’s childhood at camp together, spent riding horses every day for weeks. “She’s an angel,” she muses.
Bella also notes that her pared-back childhood and penchant for horse riding informed her style. “Growing up I always rode horses and wasn’t into the way I dressed. Now I actually enjoy being in baggier clothes and sweatpants and that’s what makes me feel sexy,” she said. "Have a confident stance and take on the world – and then you’ll feel sexy."
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So what’s next for Bella – and is there even any room left on her CV?
“One day I’d like to explore movies, but I’m bad at remembering lines so hopefully they have good prompters on set,” she jokes.
For now, Bella is looking forward to spending the summer exploring the world with her friends and family.
“This summer I’ve got more time to myself, which I haven’t had in a few years, to really be able to experience places. I've been to Cannes three times but only really seen interview rooms. I want to go to Morocco and back to Egypt – I haven’t been since I was a kid – places that I can really experience.
“I am going to make great memories.”
Hopefully she remembers the invite she extended to Lisbon and we’ll get to go along for the ride.