If you had asked an 18-year-old Gigi Hadid where she saw herself in five years, even her wildest-dreams scenario would’ve resembled where she ended up.
The reality most likely exceeded the fantasy, in fact.
Passing one career benchmark after another, hoovering up goals and making bank since moving to New York after high school, Gigi is primed at 24 to have her most stellar year yet. Already a veteran of countless magazine covers, including the holy quartet of American, British, Italian and French Vogue; several Victoria’s Secret Fashion Shows; Fashion Weeks all over the world, the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue; and numerous clothing, accessory and beauty collaborations, the L.A. native and former obliging Real Housewives of Beverly Hills kid is a mogul in the making—and happens to be one of the nicer and hardest-working famous people you might happen upon out in the world.
She finds balance at her mom’s farm, where she and sister Bella Hadid and brother Anwar Hadid do chores just like any other kid, and as her life has only become more hectic, the respite is all the more welcome.
“It’s where we can all come and feel like ourselves again,” Gigi explained to Elle for its March 2019 issue. “When I’m here, I just get in my truck and go to the store. Kids get excited at the market, but they don’t take their phones out. They want us to feel normal, and that’s very appreciated.”
In honor of her 24th birthday, here are 24 things to know about Gigi Hadid that have made her the person she is:
Happy Birth Day
She was born Jelena Noura Hadid on April 23, 1995, to Dutch model mom Yolanda Hadid and Palestinian-born real estate developer Mohamed Hadid.
“I feel very proud and very lucky to be of dual heritage,” Gigi told Vogue in 2017.
And to British Vogue in 2018, “They built what we were given in our childhood from nothing, so we work hard and be kind to honor our parents.”
David X Prutting/BFA.com
Step by Step
Gigi’s parents separated in 2000 and, after spending the summer in Mexico, Yolanda moved all three kids—6-year-old Gigi, 5-year-old Bella and 18-month-old Anwar to Montecito, Calif. They moved to Malibu in 2010 into a brand-new hilltop property. Yolanda married David Foster in 2011; when they divorced in 2017, she planned on going back to her maiden name, van Den Herik, but the kids encouraged her to go back to Hadid for family ties’ sake.
Born This Way
Gigi started modeling for Baby Guess when she was 4 because her mom was dear friends with Guess founder Paul Marciano (i.e. she trusted him), and Guess Kids remained her side gig till she was 10. She wanted to keep it up as she entered her tween years, but Yolanda wanted her to focus on school and being a kid.
“Gigi was the only one who actually liked our photo shots, and, from the time that she was a little girl, I knew that she was going to be a model…My little social butterfly loved everything about it: the stylist, photographer, makeup artist, motor-home driver, food, and teacher,” Yolanda wrote in her 2018 memoir Believe Me. “She was fascinated by it all and fit right in even though she was very young. However, I felt strongly that she wait until she turned eighteen to start a modeling career.”
Flash-forward: Guess was still happy to have Gig in the fold once she graduated from high school.
As a teen, Gigi was a nationally ranked horseback rider and was captain of her school volleyball team, even making it to Junior Olympic qualifiers. “So, I kind of stopped modeling,” she explained to Vanity Fair in 2014. “I just wanted to have a normal childhood and go to high school.”
She graduated from Malibu High School and then it was off to New York.
So when she told Vanity Fair, talking about being on the cover of CR Fashion Book for the first time, “I would have been fine being on that set with Bruce Weber and Carine Roitfeld, just, like, cleaning the horse s–t,” she knew what she was talking about.
George Pimentel/Getty Images
Intrigued by Law & Order and, as her mom put it, “hard-core murder mysteries” since she was a kid, Gigi enrolled at New York’s New School to study criminal psychology. She was the first person from her mom’s side of the family to go to college. Around the same time, however, she was signed by IMG and her skyrocketing modeling career eventually vanquished the competition for her time.
Dimitrios Kambouris/MG18/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue
Head Held High
Gigi is 5’10 and easily 6′ in heels.
Frazer Harrison/Getty Images For Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week
Gigi had her New York Fashion Week debut in February 2014, walking in Desigual’s Fall 2014 runway show. “It was crazy. I got to walk with my all-time idol, Candice Swanepoel, and she was, like, in front of me in the lineup, and it was crazy,” she gushed to Vanity Fair afterward. “I was amazed.”
Ben Watts/Sports Illustrated
Gigi made her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue debut in 2014 under the “rookie” umbrella.
Brian Birzer/MixRadio via Getty Images
Remember them?! Back when she was first breaking through as a household-name model, Gigi dated (and posed nude for Vogue with) Australian pop star Cody Simpson. They split up in 2015 after about two years together, minus a previous split.
“Cody and Gigi want each other to be in a place right now that allows him to only focus on his music, fans, and new message, while she can focus and continue building her career,” Hadid’s rep told E! News at the time. “They love each other dearly and have split up in hopes that growing on their own paths will bring them together in the future.”
The rep added, “They remain friends with no hard feelings and each other’s biggest supporters.”
Which, happily, made it less awkward when they found themselves seated next to each other on the same flight a month later.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Global Lyme Alliance
And remember when Gigi dated Joe Jonas for a hot second?! Theirs was a brief coupling, but they had already been friends, ever since Joe asked a 13-year-old Gigi, after meeting at the 2010 Grammys, if she wanted to go to a baseball game.
“I was so nervous; I literally didn’t even know what it meant to hang out with a boy,” she said in a September 2015 Periscope Q&A. “And also, Grammys are on a Sunday, and I didn’t want to tell him that I had school the next day, so I was like, ‘No, maybe next time.'”
Alas, competing schedules were still a problem five years later.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Victoria’s Secret
No wonder she had no time for boys. Yolanda recounted in Believe Me that Gigi’s dream, when she first moved to New York after high school, was to walk in the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Two years later, in 2015, she did just that.
TREVOR COLLENS/AFP/Getty Images
Gigi was named a Tommy Hilfiger brand ambassador in December 2015 and went on to collaborate on four Tommy x Gigi capsule collections.
Gigi won Celebrity MasterChef and praise from Gordon Ramsay with a cheeseburger in 2016.
“The first year I lived in New York I tried a different burger every week to find my favorite burger in New York,” Gigi said, adding, “I always say, eat clean to stay fit, have a burger to stay sane.”
Yes to NoHo
Gigi reportedly paid just under $4 million for a 2,085-square-foot, two-bedroom, two-and-a-half-bath unit in a modern, high-security building on Bond Street in Manhattan’s trendy NoHo neighborhood.
Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
On the List
Gigi cracked Forbes‘s list of the highest-paid models of the year in 2016, with $9 million thanks in part to contracts with Tommy Hilfiger and Maybelline, and she remained on the list in 2017 and 2018 with $9.5 million.
Is Coachella even Coachella anymore without Gigi, who’s been going since she was old enough to get down to Indio, Calif., without needing a parent to drive her.
Gigi famously became a member of Taylor Swift’s pack of fashionable pals and appeared in her 2015 “Bad Blood” video. There’s been plenty of speculation about what happened to Taylor’s cookie-baking, party-on-the-Fourth-of-July O.G. squad, but four years later, Gigi’s love for T.Swift is strong. She paid tribute to her friend in a video for Variety‘s Power of Women series in January 2019, recalling how she connected with Swift’s music long before she even met her.
“This last Reputation Tour, and 1989, I might have gone to 10 shows on each tour,” the model guesstimated.
As for maintaining a big ol’ squad… Gigi told Harper’s Bazaar in 2017 that more isn’t necessarily merrier.
Once you become famous “a lot of interesting things in friends come out,” she mused. “So, in a way it’s good because you learn that it’s better to have a few really good friends than tons of friends you aren’t really sure about. There are people who understand that I love them and who know that when I get back to town I’m going to call them, but sometimes I can’t call every day because I’m in weird places. I’ve lost a lot of friends because I’ll get busy for a short period of time, and they’re not reaching out, but if I don’t reach out, then it’s like I’ve changed.”
At the end of any day, good or bad, Gigi knows that sister Bella Hadid is a true bestie. Barely a year apart, they shared their love of riding as kids and are busy celebrating each other’s success as grown women.
“All I do my entire life—the purpose—is just to watch over Bella,” Gigi shared with British Vogue in 2018. “I’m gonna start getting emotional…She’s one of the only people that I’ll get aggressive for…” And with that, she teared up. “Sorry! I didn’t mean to do this. She makes me so proud and I would do anything for her.”
“Bella definitely was the more rebellious,” the proud big sis continued. “We’re different, but we’re also the same in a lot of ways. We’re both creative, we love riding horses, we love being outdoors and we’re spiritual—we have the same values of kindness and passion. That’s why I connect with her as an adult.”
Similarly, to Harper’s Bazaar, Gigi said of Bella, “She’s so understanding of the demands of this job, and it’s really great that I can talk to her about it.”
It Was the Best of Times…
Gigi had an intense relationship with Zayn Malik for two years before breaking up in early 2018. They reconnected toward the end of that year and were said to be “in a much better place” after some time apart, but not long after the clock struck 2019, they split again.
Still, they remain fiercely protective of each other, with Zayn calling Gigi “the most amazing woman I’ve ever known” in April 2019 when some not-great social media detectives misread one of his tweets.
Grant Lamos IV/Getty Images
Gigi is super-close with her mom and was a rock of support when Yolanda dealt with being diagnosed with Lyme disease, having first developed symptoms when Gigi was 16. Asked what the best piece of advice she’d received from her mom, Gigi told Vogue, “If you’re not the nicest, most hard-working girl in the industry, there’s going to be someone prettier, nicer and more hard-working.”
And Daddy’s Girl
The best bit of advice she’s received from Mohamed? “Creative can happen whenever, wherever.”
Raymond Hall/GC Images
“I appreciate chips and guac” during a shoot, she told Vogue.
Doug Meszler, PacificCoastNews
Hands Up, Chin Down
Boxing has become one of Gigi’s preferred workouts.
Plastic for Posterity
What do you do after you have a Barbie made in your image?
For Gigi Hadid, the answer most likely isn’t even to take a break, let alone stop while she’s ahead.
And ahead is where you’ll continue to find her.
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