Throwback Thursday: Gigi and Bella in V96

Throwback Thursday: Gigi and Bella in V96

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Throwback Thursday: Gigi and Bella in V96

Dive into the V archives and peruse the Hadid sisters' interview with China Machado accompanied by photography from Steven Klein.

Dive into the V archives and peruse the Hadid sisters' interview with China Machado accompanied by photography from Steven Klein.

Photography: Steven Klein

Styling: Patti Wilson

Text: Natasha Stagg

The Hadid sisters are endlessly striking, and the pages of V96 are a token example as the duo was dressed in Dior patent leather thigh high heels and dramatic fur coats with hints of purple. Gigi and Bella keep the V archives electric, and with photography from Steven Klein, fashion by Patti Wilson, and China Machado interviewing fashion's most famed sisters, V96 is an issue you would have not wanted to miss.

Here's a glimpse of Gigi and Bella fresh from the archives, which you can get full access to by joining the V Collector's Club.

A lot has changed since China Machado started modeling in 1954. As the first non-Caucasian model to appear on the cover of a major American fashion magazine (Harper’s Bazaar, 1959), she’s seen it all and can attest to the diva stereotypes the industry has created and even celebrated. Not so today: in 2015’s catwalk culture, a model’s calling card is equal parts her Instagram account and her agency, making the atmosphere nothing short of a willing surveil- lance state. Love or hate it, the public eye’s acute focus on where every working model is at any given time—and with whom—has changed the name of the game to something resembling political democracy. It’s not just about who walked the most runways, but who has the most friends—and the lasting support of both friends and strangers. Gone are the days of backstabbing, now that no one’s back is ever fully turned. Gigi and Bella Hadid know this. Although their model mother, Yolanda Foster (star of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, where the Hadid girls were first introduced to most of America), worked in a more insular industry, all of the Hadids are experts at making friends.

The idea, in fact, that Bella (18) and Gigi (20) are so supportive of one another feels somewhat fresh. Anyone who has met the sisters will likely use words like “the sweetest” or “we clicked” when describing them, and this includes other models. Gigi’s daily mantra, she says, is, “Be kind, work hard, and make a friend,” because “you don’t know who those people are gonna go have dinner with and talk to that night.” Here, in a conversation between the 86-year-old Richard Avedon once called “probably the most beautiful woman in the world” and two of the most followed models working today, we learn about how the roles—and the rules—in fashion have started to favor, of all people, the nice ones. NATASHA STAGG

CHINA MACHADO So, where are you two now?

GIGI HADID I’m in London.

BELLA HADID And I’m in Rome.

CM Terrific. Now, Gigi, how old are you?

GH I’m 20.

CM And Bella?

BH I’m 18.

CM I started modeling in 1954 when your grandmother was around, I presume. But I was of mixed race and I was taken sort of hesitantly. I began in Paris with Givenchy and Balenciaga. And then I came in ’58 and met Richard Avedon and I was the first non-Caucasian in a big magazine in New York. And they didn’t even want to publish me.

GH We know.

BH That’s amazing.

CM And now, you girls are absolutely gorgeous, and also of mixed race. Your father’s Middle Eastern; your mother’s Dutch. And you are celebrated. It’s of the time. There’s not that prejudice: What is she? Who is she? Is she Chinese? It doesn’t exist any longer, because it’s so global, everything. Okay, Bella, my question to you: What is your favorite thing about modeling?

BH Well, obviously traveling. Gigi and I have traveled a lot our whole lives so it’s really amazing to be able to do it on our own. But I also take photos so it’s really nice to be able to work with photographers. I think meeting people is a big thing for us too. It’s really great to be able to meet people and interact and show our personalities through photos.

CM Absolutely. You both have different personalities when you model. I guess it’s also because your mother was a model, right?

GH Absolutely. She took pictures of us our whole lives. You can definitely see our personalities through our pictures, especially when we’re next to each other, like in V. I think it’s going to be really fun for people to be able to see us together.

CM You know what I think your mother and father gave you, which I see immediately in your pictures? They gave you confidence. That’s partly because of your education, your nice lifestyle.

GH Our parents obviously gave us a very blessed life, but they also both came from very little. I think they really raised us with a sense of work ethic because of their own amazing work ethic. I think it gave us confidence that we could go into the world and do this on our own.

CM What are your goals in terms of modeling?

GH What I’ve been doing a lot every day is I have three goals: be kind, work hard, and make a friend. When I do those little things on set every day, those are the things that then lead to creating relationships and building opportunities. Because you don’t know who those people are gonna go have dinner with and talk to that night.

CM Listen, I’ve been in this business a long time and I’ve met many models. I’ve gone through, “Oh my God, here comes the diva!” And I find in both of you the kindness that your mother and father gave you. It’s so different, so refreshing. Some of these girls come in and it’s, “I don’t want this, I don’t like that, my hair...” I mean, you almost have to stand at attention. And you girls are so different. It’s wonderful.

BH Thank you.

GH Thank you.

CM If you were to change one thing about yourself, Bella, what would it be?

BH Um, I think that I don’t have a lot of patience sometimes.

GH I was gonna say the same thing [laughs].

CM I have no patience whatsoever, so don’t worry about that. That’s a good thing, because then you get rid of all the nonsense. Be impatient because you know what you want. And if you can’t get it, well—let’s go, let’s move! That’s good. I promise you it’s not bad. Be impatient, not horrible. Horrible is one thing, impatient is another. You know what you want, and you haven’t got time to waste. Who is your hero?

BH Can it be my mom? My mom, 100 percent.

GH I would say the same thing.

CM She sounds like a wonderful, perfect mother. I wish I had a mother like that [laughs]. If Instagram imploded tomorrow, ceased to exist, what would your reaction be?

BH I would be so happy.

GH I feel like the world would be so different. I mean, really it’d be great because everyone would be off their phones. But I think it would change our industry and the world. I think people wouldn’t know how to function, unfortunately. It really is the center point of so many industries now. I think it would change the economy.

CM And people’s thinking.

BH That’s for sure.

CM Well, I don’t even know how to Instagram, so don’t ask me. I don’t know what it is. What do you do on your days off from modeling?

BH Eat [laughs].

CM What kind of food?

BH Everything...

GH I’m on a mission to find the best cheeseburger in New York City. So I go do that. Right now it’s at J.G. Melon, on the Upper East Side.

CM That place has been there for 50 years, I was there at the opening.

GH It’s the best burger. Best one.

CM Okay, what is your most thrilling pastime? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that [laughs]. Are we gonna be honest or are we just gonna fool around?

GH Over New Year’s, I went skydiving.

CM All right, do you have a personal motto?

GH When people ask me about my workout and eating habits, I say, “Eat clean and work out to stay fit, have a burger to stay sane.” Bella?

BH I don’t have a motto yet, guys [laughs].

GH The one that I just said is one I made up, but I do have one I think is a very good way to be in life, especially in our industry. It says, “There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man. True nobility is being superior to your former self.”

CM My personal motto? Try to laugh every day. At least one laugh, then I’m feeling great [laughs]. Which one of you is more rebellious?

GH Bella.

CM What is the most rebellious thing your sister has ever done? I ran away with a bullfighter. So if you can do something better than that then you can say it.

BH That’s amazing.

GH The most rebellious thing Bella has ever done? I mean, she hasn’t gotten a tattoo yet.

CM Have you ever fought over a crush?

BH No, never. We would never touch the same person.

GH We don’t have the same type.

CM Your mother told you all about modeling. A lot of models come in and they don’t know how to deal with rejection. That’s the most painful thing for a model. Sometimes they’re beautiful, but just not the type, or the job is not good for them. That rejection is terrible.

BH Yeah, my mom put us into the modeling world with a good understanding of things going into it. She told us about the ups and downs.

GH She was very realistic, she didn’t sugarcoat it.

CM Do you think narcissism is an epidemic, as recently suggested in the New York Times?

GH A lot of people are turning against social media, saying that it’s creating an epidemic of narcissism. Narcissism has obviously been around for a very long time. People are hard on others for taking selfies, but that’s our generation. You can spin it negatively, but also you have to realize all the positive things it’s doing for a lot of industries, and for education in other parts of the world—being able to view and understand different cultures and different peoples’ lives without being in those places. I think it’s better to look at the positives. Obviously, there are a lot of people who do like to take pictures of themselves and whatnot, but if it’s their way of expressing themselves, then that’s fine.

CM I think there’s a line between narcissism and insecurity. Some people go overboard to make up for wanting to be part of the group. So in that sense, I don’t think it’s a bad thing. Both of you are incredibly beautiful, incredibly successful, and yet incredibly sweet. What makes you so nice?

GH It’s the way we grew up.

BH No matter if they’re working next to you, below you, or above you, be kind and generous to everyone you meet. Yeah, it’s bizarre because it’s weird for people to be nice these days.

CM Believe me, you guys have been lucky. It can be so bitchy and so cruel. Have you encountered any nasty attitudes or behavior in the industry?

GH There are some people who are mean at times, but I think generally we are in a generation of models where it’s becoming normal to support each other, and I think it’s really different. We’re lucky to be in that generation of girls where we’re really pushing for girl power and supporting each other and being friends with everyone. And I think it’s becoming less cool to be like the catty models that we’ve all heard the stories about. There are a lot of different girls in the industry, including Taylor Swift—I just did her music video. She put something like twenty successful women in the industry in her video. I felt so lucky to do that because I felt like it was really a sign of our collective willingness to support each other and have each other’s backs and kind of hold hands along the way.

CM In this issue of V, Iman says modeling is not so hard. Do you agree or disagree?

GH Um, I disagree.

BH I disagree.

CM Yes, I disagree.

GH I think that if you’re not working hard, it’s not going to be an image that can make someone feel something, and that’s really important. I find that the pictures where I was the least comfortable are sometimes the best ones.

CM Yeah, in a funny angle, right? Balancing, right? Who are your favorite models of all time?

GH Kate Moss. You.

BH Our mom.

CM Now, when your mother retired from modeling, she became an interior designer and started a family. Do you have plans for life after the runway?

BH When I moved to New York, I stopped riding horses. I want to eventually get a barn and have my mom come live there with us and just ride horses and become a photographer and do that. That’s my goal. Riding horses and taking photos [laughs].

CM Sounds very healthy. What about you, Gigi?

GH I’m very career-minded and I think I’ll always be someone that will—

CM Do something?

GH Yes.

CM Well I’ve enjoyed talking to you, I think you’re terrific, and I love your attitude.

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