Bella Hadid: an angel for the ages?
Bella Hadid at the Victoria Secret red carpet
It would be an understatement to say that Bella Hadid didn't kill her debut as a Victoria Secret Angel. Newsfeeds were filled with images of her gliding down the runway, angelic, serene, striking. All the other models, terrifyingly beautiful in their own right, were just sort of there, in soft focus in the background. It's safe to say that Bella has earned herself the coveted title of the current it girl of the moment.
But why the fuss over Bella? Was it finally the raven-haired beauty's turn to own the lime light from her peers, one of which includes her super famous sister Gigi? Was it due to the entertaining encounter between her and ex boyfriend, singer The Weekend who performed on the runway? Is all her hard work finally paying off? Just in case you didn't know, Bella does work hard, very hard. Or is it just one of those things where fate and fame decide to intersect and chose Bella as their point of meeting? Perhaps it's a combination of all.
Hailing a generation of young super models literally taking over the world, she has a lot of what makes a current it girl relevant. Aside from sultry stares, famous boyfriends, wealthy and famous families, these girls are social media savvy with a massive following before they even stepped on to the runway. So what makes Bella so different? I'm not entirely sure to be honest. I find her to be a bit of anomaly. I don't mean Bella herself, obviously how well do we, as observers, know the celebrities the world obsessed over? Not at all. I mean what Bella represents as a figure head for a generation that she has been deemed the current reigning supreme sovereign.
Bella is the Ying to Gigi's Yang. It's great to see girl power at it's finest in an industry where often or not women are often pitied against one another. We love how these two sisters support, depend and lift each other up. They have different looks and appeal to different clients commercially. Bella constantly refers to her older sister as her inspiration in everything. They are also breaking records. Bella and Gigi are the first sister duo to work for Victoria's Secret at the same time.
Bella's father is Mohamed Hadid a Jordanian-American real estate developer of Palestinian origin who is hugely supportive of his daughter's career. Technically, this makes Bella a Muslim. Whether she practices or not we have no idea, but it's great anyway. At a time when positive Muslim role models are almost non-existent in the media, we welcome Bella and her family to represent some facet of the Middle East.
If you aren't up with your reality trash television shows, you might not know that Bella's mother is Yolanda Foster. Yolanda is slowly giving Kris Jenner a run for her money as potential titleholder of the ultimate Momager. Yolanada was a huge super model in the '80s and early '90s then turned reality star and became a fan favourite in her former gig as housewife from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Yolanada is a massive support for her two daughters, and their younger brother Anwar (also a model by the way) and is often seen at most of the girls shows.
In October 2015, it was announced that Bella suffered from Lyme disease. Bella and her mother and brother, Anwar, were all diagnosed with the disease in 2012. The disease forced her to give up her Olympic equestrian dreams. Yes, before entering the modeling world, Bella was a nationally ranked equestrian who started competing at the age of three. Bella and her mother have been extremely active in bringing awareness to Lyme disease on an international lever. Bella even did a speech at the Global Lyme Alliance Gala this year, where she candidly spoke about how her teenage years were taken away from her after being diagnosed.
As far as role models go Bella isn't a bad one. Apart from a DIU incident when she was 17 (hey, who hasn't made at least one mistake as a teenager?) who wouldn't want their daughter to look up to a young girl with a great family, knows the value of hard work and is socially aware? Well, it's amazing what a simple Goggle search can reveal.
Type the words, Bella Before and After and you'll find a number of photos of Bella, when she was younger and how different she looked. There's even a twitter account dedicated to her "Beauty Evolution". It all has a very strange, romantic ugly duckling who turned into a swan narrative, that I found a tad disturbing.
Now, let's be clear. This isn't baby fat, acne, embarrassing hairstyle or photo taken from a funny angle type of different. Bella's nose was noticeably bigger, her lips much thinner and she might have possibly had a breast augmentation. We aren't being cynical here, but even the biggest Bella fan has to admit, that the girl has had some work done. No biggie, right? Each to their own, yeah?
Well, if you have 8.2 million followers on Instagram, most of which are young girls and you're revered as a standard of great beauty that other girls, whether you mean for it or not, are supposed to adhere to, it all begs a simple question. Really? Are we still having this stale argument over and over again?
Not only Bella but model Emily Ratajkowski and even to a degree Kim Kardashian have spearheaded a new plastic surgery trend. Natural looking surgery, subtle cosmetic enhancements all in order to look fresh, healthy, with glowing clear skin and distinct, "pretty" features.
On one hand this is a much better route than the overly sexualized, fetish like surgery trend of abnormally massive lips, miniature noses and thin waists. Kylie Jenner is one of the few that still embodies the overtly sexual trend within plastic surgery procedures. On the other hand, we are still talking about plastic surgery on young girls. Does this idea not warrant any shock? How are medical procedures, no matter how subtle, becoming an acceptable way to enhance and change beauty, based on what's trending. It's not nail polish, it's your face. Your actual face.
What's more concerning is that many regional based influencers with a massive social media following have made it the absolute norm to record themselves visiting doctors for consultations, during procedures, explaining what is being done, how it can be done and showing off the results. Social Media gives the impression that these procedures are accessible and a necessary part of every girl's journey to become the best she can be. Social media is fuelling this demand for plastic surgery and non-surgical procedures in a positive light when in actual fact it's simply pointing out perceived flaws that might not matter in a few years.
Whatever Bella did to her face, it transformed her from an average girl to an A-list model. We are still confused as to why those two can't be the same thing. Bella has hundreds of millions of girls follow her and despite her good intentions, her hard work as a model and spokeswoman for Lyme disease, the underlying message here is that none of that matters. You can't really make a difference, people can't know you, unless you fix your nose first.