Gigi Hadid is one of those stars who suddenly starts to land magazine covers and trend on Facebook even though you’re really not quite sure (a) who she is, (b) why she’s famous and (c) if you should care that you don’t know who she is or why she’s famous.
If you’ve decided that you think you should care, now is the time, because Hadid just made her debut appearance Tuesday night on CBS in the famed Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
“It’s so exciting,” she told E! News before the show. “I’ve been watching this since I was a kid and during commercial breaks practicing my runway walk in my room, and this is insane. It’s great to have an actual dream actually come true.”
As it happens, Hadid is the ringleader of a new class of supermodels who are stealthily infiltrating the ranks of mainstream fame, thanks to a savvy understanding of the way celebrity works these days.
You may have seen Hadid, 20, in Taylor Swift’s splashy Bad Blood music video earlier this year; or on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (her mother, Dutch former model Yolanda Foster, is a cast member and just announced a divorce from Gigi’s stepfather, Grammy-winning music producer David Foster).
Hadid continues to be in the news for any number of reasons, including her series of famous boyfriends, such as pop star Cody Simpson, singer Joe Jonas or her rumored current flame, ex-One Directioner Zayn Malik. She also happens to be pals with lots of famous people like Kendall Jenner and Taylor Swift.
But more important is the way that Hadid — much like Karlie Kloss, Martha Hunt, Lily Aldridge and other catwalkers — has managed to elevate her profile through her strategic use of social media. The Gigi on display for millions of online followers is one that insists she is really Just Like You. Take her now-viral Instagram post that slammed body-shamers. “I’m not going to lie, I did let the negativity get to me a little,” she wrote after being critiqued for a bikini photo. “Your mean comments don’t make me want to change my body ... if I didn’t have the body I do, I wouldn’t have the career I do.”
The 20-year-old also tries to prove that despite her family money (dad, Mohamed Hadid, is a wealthy real estate developer), she still works hard on her own. One episode of RHOBH featured her high school graduation bash, held in a mansion. Though viewers may have rolled their eyes, Hadid’s emotional speech was admittedly moving.
“One thing I’ve always said about my parents is that they both came from amazing families, but they both definitely had to work their way up for the life that they’ve given me,” Hadid said through tears on the Bravo episode that aired in February 2014. “And obviously, beautiful homes and great opportunities have come with having them as parents. But I think the best thing they’ve given me is their work ethic.”
Miami Herald staff writer Madeleine Marr contributed to this report.