Gigi Hadid is the model of the moment, there’s no doubt about that. But this week the 20 year old has interrupted her stream of backstage snaps to post an empowering open letter on Instagram, responding to critics of her body.
Addressing the negativity surrounding body image on the runway, Hadid speaks directly to all those who have knocked her suitability for high fashion modelling by attacking her comparatively curvy look.
Harking back to the days of Tyra Banks and Cindy Crawford, Hadid has been hailed by the likes of Carine Roitfeld and Tom Ford as a welcome departure from the super skinny stereotype.
This fashion season so far she’s already walked for Versace, Diane von Furstenberg, Jeremy Scott and Anna Sui.
She led an army of bikini clad models through an on-stage lake at the Tommy Hilfiger show in New York, sat front row with Anna Wintour to support Serena William’s NYFW debut, and is rumoured to be the next major signing for Victoria’s Secret.
She’s also the face of Maybelline make-up alongside Jourdan Dunn, a key member of Taylor Swift’s squad and a star of the new Balmain x H&M campaign too.
You could say she’s killing it. But according to Hadid, and a quick browse of comments left on her Instagram snaps are evidence enough to back her up on this, some are taking issue with her body.
Writing in the letter, she says: “No, I don’t have the same body type as other models in shows. No, I don’t think I’m the best at any given show. Yes, I want to have a unique walk but I also know I have to improve. No, I’m not the first or last model of my type in this industry.”
“You can make up all the reasons you think I am where I am, but really, I’m a hard worker that’s confident in myself, one that came at a time where the fashion industry was ready for a change. I’m just doing my job.
“I represent a body image that wasn’t accepted in high-fashion before, and I’m very lucky to be supported by the designers, stylists and editors that I am: ones that know this is fashion, it’s art; it can never stay the same. It’s 2015.”
“Yes, I have boobs, I have abs, I have a butt, I have thighs, but I’m not asking for special treatment. I’m fitting into the sample sizes.
“Your mean comments don’t make me want to change my body, they don’t make we want to say no to the designers that ask me to be in their shows, and they definitely don’t change the designers’ opinions of me.”
The letter has since received a huge amount of support from others in the industry, including Tyra Banks who has battled similar criticism throughout her career.
Reposting Hadid’s letter on her own Instagram feed, Banks says: “I haven't met you yet @gigihadid but I FEEL you so much. Your words are powerful. Your words are necessary. Your words are vulnerable. Your words are real.”
Clearly at an emotional point in her rise to success, Hadid says that comments about her body and walk had started to impact her confidence. Support that has since flooded in however, has helped to restore her faith.
Talking to Vogue.com, the model says: “There are people who feel like they’re able to hide behind their usernames and their private accounts, who feel like they can say whatever they want and it won’t affect anyone.”
“I try not to pay attention to it that much, but it got to a point where I started to feel self-conscious about certain things. When you see that people are not only saying [negative things] but are saying them in a very, very hurtful way, you start to pay more attention to it.”
“I started crying at the multiple text messages I got today from everyone, from Victoria’s Secret models to plus-size models to people like Tyra Banks, who is someone I’ve looked up to for my entire life. Those are the people who really touched me because I know those are the people who are the most emotionally affected within the fashion industry by this type of criticism.”
Hadid has also now taken to Twitter to celebrate the bodies of everyone from Beyonce and Rihanna to Serena Williams, Taylor Swift, Ashley Graham and Kendall Jenner, with the hashtag #AllDifferentAllPerfect.
Signing off her letter with a plea for more positivity surrounding diverse body shapes , the model writes: “I’ve said it before… I hope everyone gets to a place in their life where they’d rather talk about the things that inspire them over the things that bring others down.”
“At least be open if not part of the change, because it’s undeniably happening.”