The Untold Truth Of Bella Hadid

These days it's hard to open Instagram or a fashion magazine without seeing the face of international model Bella Hadid looking back up at you, but that wasn't always the case. As the second daughter of real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid and former model turned reality star Yolanda Hadid, Bella grew up adjacent to Hollywood but not exactly enmeshed in it. 

In fact, Bella told Vogue in April 2022 that she grew up outside of the glitz and glamour of the entertainment world altogether. She began riding horses as a young child in Santa Barbara, and her first job was at the age of 14 at a local juice shop. Despite those roots, Bella is also quick to point out that she definitely had a lot as a child. She says, "It's not to say that I didn't have a very privileged upbringing. But my parents are immigrants who came here and worked for everything they had. I always knew the value of a dollar."

Bella began walking runways at the age of 14, and by the time she was signed up for classes in college, she was also signed to her own management company. Since then, she's worked steadily as a model, sometimes surprising her own self. Here are some things you might not know about Bella Hadid.

Bella Hadid has been photographed from birth

In a lot of ways, it's not too surprising that Bella Hadid works as a professional model and is photographed constantly. From what it sounds like, she's been used to the camera practically since birth. As her mother Yolanda Hadid tells the story, she was photographing all of her children from very early on. She explained to Today Extra, "I've shot my children since they were born. I always dressed them up, shot them at the barn on the horses" (via E! News).

Yolanda adds that she was also strict as a mother, saying that she planned for none of her children to work in entertainment until they were at least adults, lest they be judged based on what they look like. Both Bella and her older sister Gigi ended up entering the world of modeling well before their 18th birthday, so it's tough to know how much of that was with or without Yolanda's blessing. 

Bella Hadid is Palestinian

While Bella Hadid's mother Yolanda was born in the Netherlands before eventually making her way to the United States, Page Six explains that Bella's father Mohamed Hadid was born in Nazareth, Israel. Mohamed's family lived in Syria and Lebanon before immigrating to the United States, and Bella still has plenty of Palestinian family both in the U.S. and in Palestine. 

Bella has been openly proud of her heritage. In December 2017, she spoke about Palestine and Israel on Instagram in the midst of protests that took place in Israel at the same time. She referenced her family in the post, writing that she had hoped to find the best words to express how she felt, but soon realized there are on ideal words for the situation. Instead, Bella spoke from her heart, explaining, "Watching the news and seeing the pain of the Palestinian people makes me cry for the many many generations of Palestine. Seeing the sadness of my father, cousins, and Palestinian family that are feeling for our Palestinian ancestors makes this even harder to write." 

She's also discussed her ethnic background with Elle, once telling the magazine that her diverse ancestral background has helped her understand one thing. She said, "We shouldn't treat people as if they don't deserve kindness just because of their ethnicities. It's just not right."

Bella Hadid grew up riding horses

Bella Hadid has always had a lot of different interests, but one of her most long-term has been horseback riding. In fact, Bella is so accomplished as an equestrian that she even hoped to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games. She once told Marie Claire that her relationship with riding goes back as far as she can remember, noting, "Equestrian, of course! I have been riding since I could walk, so it would be a dream come true to compete in the Olympics."

After announcing that she hoped to be in the Games, Bella had to walk back her words after she contracted Lyme Disease. The symptoms of the disease proved too much for her at the time. Her mother Yolanda addressed the disappointment Bella felt in a blog post for Bravo, writing, "Bella had to give up her lifelong dream of having a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics due to her severe symptoms and inability to ride. This was the biggest heartbreak of her life and an extremely sensitive subject for her."

Despite that loss, Bella has maintained her love for horses and riding. In fact, her ex-boyfriend The Weeknd even sang about her horseback riding in his song "Wasted Times" (via Vogue Arabia).

Bella Hadid planned to study photography at college

Despite her mother and sister's work as professional models, Bella Hadid didn't always plan to follow in their footsteps. In fact, Teen Vogue shares that she was enrolled in photography courses at Parsons The New School of Design, with Bella explaining that she's enjoyed being behind the camera since she was only seven years old. 

Though Bella goes on to say that modeling was always her older sister Gigi Hadid's line of work, she admits that having a lot of experience taking photos has helped her understand how to move and exist in front of the camera, too. She told the publication, "Having experience behind it has taught me about lighting and angles, how to move, and what looks good and what doesn't."

Per Vogue, one reason Bella didn't pursue photography very long is that she had already been signed as a model by the time her classes began that August. However, working as a model gave her the opportunity to learn more about the medium from the photographers she met on set, such as fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti. As Bella told the magazine, "I love to be a part of that process. Sometimes I think I love everything except being in front of the camera."

Bella Hadid began walking runways in 2014

Bella Hadid got her start on the runway at the young age of 14 when she walked the Desigual Spring 2015 catwalk during that year's Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week (per E! News). She later told The Editorialist that her early years of modeling were pretty rough, especially as she put a lot of pressure on herself. As she put it, "I've always been really hard on myself. If I didn't book a job, I would cry" (via Glamour).

Hadid has admitted that the early days of her career were confusing, especially as she wasn't always sure what version of herself people really wanted. As she put it in a 2021 interview with Vogue, "It's like there were two Bellas. Me, this person in the process of figuring out who she was, and 'Bella Hadid' the alter ego, who was — I dunno — a sexbot who goes out every night?" So for a time, she tried to do what she thought people wanted but quickly realized that she had to live life her own way. 

For one thing, her social anxiety got in the way of her having any fun going out all night. These days, she feels a lot more comfortable just being who she is. As Hadid told Vogue, "Now I don't want to live in that box. I definitely feel like I'm allowed to speak."

Bella Hadid has Lyme disease

When Bella Hadid was in middle school she began exhibiting symptoms of what would eventually be diagnosed as Lyme disease. Her mother Yolanda Hadid and brother Anwar Hadid also suffer from the same condition. The symptoms described in an interview with Vogue include "brain fog, anxiety, exhaustion, poor focus, headaches, bone pain, and crying spells" and the publication also notes that Bella has been diagnosed with the tick-borne parasitic infection babesiosis as well.

Bella's mother tried to attack the disease head-on, exploring a lot of options before settling on alternative health when Bella was a teenager. The treatments Bella subsequently received included ultraviolet-light irradiation of her blood and ozone therapy. She admitted to Vogue that she didn't always want to talk about her health conditions early on in her career, adopting a "don't ask, don't tell" mentality. 

In recent years, Bella has opened up about the conditions much more. In fact, she took to Instagram in February 2021 to share a photo of herself receiving treatment for Lyme disease via IV, writing, "Living with a few chronic auto immune disorders =always finding time for my IVs."

Bella Hadid grew up feeling like the 'ugly sister'

As someone who many people all over the world celebrate for being beautiful inside and out, it might be surprising to learn that Bella Hadid felt like she was the "ugly sister" when she was growing up with Gigi Hadid. Bella opened up to Vogue about the experience, explaining that it wasn't just that she felt this way — people told her this was the case.

Bella said, "I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn't as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing. That's really what people said about me. And unfortunately, when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it." Bella went on to say that she suffers from anxiety she describes as incredible, mentioning also that she battles depression and eating issues. In fact, it's a wonder she's in the field of modeling at all. She explained that despite the criticism and self-doubt, she's made it this far in part because she has never missed a job in the seven years she's been working. 

As Bella told Vogue, "I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove."

Bella Hadid got a nose job at the age of 14

Bella Hadid's April 2022 Vogue interview was one of her most revealing yet, with the model opening up about personal details that she had not yet discussed. As someone who has consistently denied getting any plastic surgery or cosmetic work done, it was surprising when Hadid reversed course and admitted to something pretty major: she got a nose job at the age of 14. 

Hadid went on to add that she wishes she could take the surgery back, speaking to a part of herself that would now be comfortable celebrating. She said, "I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors. I think I would have grown into it." In addition to the nose job, Hadid has been accused of undergoing any number of procedures, especially on her face — Vogue points out that many people believe she's had work done in an attempt to emulate Carla Bruni. 

Hadid brushes the accusations off, simply stating, "I have never used filler. Let's just put an end to that. I have no issue with it, but it's not for me. Whoever thinks I've gotten my eyes lifted or whatever it's called—it's face tape!" (via Vogue).

Bella Hadid also struggles with chronic anxiety

In addition to the autoimmune diseases that she's been quite open about, as she's grown up Bella Hadid has been a lot more comfortable discussing the mental health struggles she faces daily, too. As Insider notes, while appearing on her mom's TV show "Making A Model," Hadid admitted to going through a lot before she had to do interviews at the beginning of her career. While speaking to a contestant on the show she confessed, "I would literally start crying and shaking if I had to do interviews at red carpet events. It was really nerve-racking and it's scary, and it's not only you."

In 2022, Hadid dove deeper into the topic, telling Vogue she went through a 3-year-long period during which she cried at least once a day due to her depression and anxiety. As she put it, "I wouldn't show anybody that. I would go to work, cry at lunch in my little greenroom, finish my day, go to whatever random little hotel I was in for the night, cry again, wake up in the morning, and do the same thing." To make matters worse, Hadid was often alone during this period, waking up and beginning the day with tears pouring down her face.

Bella Hadid would love to pursue acting

Bella Hadid has a lot of interests and goals, and one day actually hopes she can grace the small or big screen as an actress. She admitted to Glamour that it's definitely a dream of hers, though there's one problem: she's not sure her memorization skills are up to the task! As she put it, "One day I'd like to explore movies, but I'm bad at remembering lines so hopefully they have good prompters on set."

Hadid continued by noting that in addition to acting, she wants to travel less for work and more for the joy of being somewhere new. Having downtime is a new thing for the model who has been working hard for years, and she told Glamour that she hopes to make the most of it. Bella explained, "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."

Bella Hadid has a surprising connection to the Kardashians

It might seem like that between their reality shows, modeling careers, and real estate projects the Hadid family members are famous enough on their own, but Bella Hadid and her family also have a somewhat surprising connection to another family who is known for their looks: the Kardashian-Jenner household. Per PopSugar, here's how the relationship breaks down: Bella Hadid's mother Yolanda Hadid was married to David Foster for several years, and Foster was previously married to Linda Thompson, mom to Brandon and Brody Jenner, who are the sons of Caitlyn Jenner, who was married to Kris Jenner. Confused yet?

While the marriage between Yolanda and Foster didn't last, the latter did mention once that he still keeps in touch with Bella and her siblings. He told The Daily Mail that despite the divorce, things are fairly solid between them all. Foster explained, "I mean divorce puts a strain on everybody, yeah but Gigi and Bella are doing amazing and they're so busy that I don't talk to them much but we do text, yeah we're still good."

Bella Hadid has two other sisters

Bella Hadid's mother Yolanda Hadid and father Mohamed Hadid had three biological children together: Bella, her sister Gigi, and their brother Anwar. But Bella and her siblings have more siblings outside of that relationship. As The Daily Mail notes, Alana Hadid and Marielle Hadid are the older sisters of the three, and both women also work in the modeling industry.

Despite the overlap in their career, Alana has told Grazia Magazine that there is only love between the siblings. She explained, "I'm not in competition with my sisters or brother. We all have an innate work ethic and I feel successful – I do a lot of things people perhaps don't know about, as do my sisters."

Alana went on to add that the family of siblings are all very supportive of one another and that not having achieved the level of fame that Bella and Gigi have isn't something that bothers her. As she put it, "We love each other, we want to be close and we've never thought anything of each other apart from that we're brothers and sisters."