In a new interview, Gigi Hadid got candid about feeling “too white to stand up for my Arab heritage” and how giving birth during a pandemic has affected her positively.
Speaking with i-D, 26-year-old Hadid reveals her parenthood approach with boyfriend Zayn Malik and their one-year-old daughter, Khai. “So much of it is instinctive, but I find with raising a mixed-race child, lots of it is actively thinking about how to address that,” the supermodel said. “We think about it and talk about it a lot as partners and it’s something that’s really important to us, but it’s also something that we first experienced ourselves. Because both of our parents are their own heritage.”
Hadid’s mother Yolanda is from the Netherlands, while her father Mohamed is from Palestine. Malik’s father is from Pakistan and his mother is from English and Irish decent. “We are that first generation of those mixed races, and then that comes with that first generational experience of being like, ‘Oh damn, I’m the bridge!’ That’s not something that my parents experienced or that they can really help me through,” Hadid said. “It’s something I’ve always thought about my whole life.”
Hadid says that in certain situations she is made too feel that she is “too white to stand up for part of my Arab heritage. You go through life trying to figure out where you fit in racially.” She seems unsure if who she is would be enough to do what she feels is right, struggling with the white privilege she also benefits from. “Am I allowed to speak for this side of me, or is that speaking on something that I don’t experience enough to know?”
When it comes to her daughter, Hadid wants her to grow up with the opportunity to “be a bridge for her different ethnicities,” adding that “it will be nice to be able to have those conversations, and see where she comes from [with] it, without us putting that onto her.”
Hadid gave birth last September, in a time where she says, “Covid has been such a tragedy for so many people and families, and lives, and jobs. But there was a silver lining in the timing, in that I got to experience pregnancy and giving birth and being with my baby, and it was a reset that I would have had to make for myself, regardless.”
She was thankful that she could experience motherhood the way she wanted to, “which was without a baby nurse and without a nanny for as long as I could before I went back to work.”
GALLERY: Gigi Hadid’s Fiercest Runway Looks