Gigi Hadid is the ultimate model and “It” girl of the moment – everything from her sense of style to her physique, personality, and even family is in the spotlight right now, with both critics and admirers following her every step. We’ve all heard the harsh criticism she has gotten in the past, which interestingly has inspired her to be the face (and body) of Reebok’s latest #PerfectNever campaign, which highlights the positive ideology of self-acceptance that she believes in and aims to promote.
It takes only one person to start a movement and, right now, this movement has officially launched. In New York City, in a space filled with inspirational women and journalists from the world over, the revolution of self-loving and rejecting the notion of perfection found its first followers, soon carrying on as a global initiative to change perceptions in the industry and in minds across the world.
Following a grueling yet thoroughly satisfying workout led by Gigi and her trainer Rob Piela, an honest and deeply touching panel discussion led by Jessica Mendoza kicked off on the subject of #PerfectNever. On the roster of participants were Aly Raisman, Ruby Rose, Zoë Kravitz, Lena Dunham and, of course, Gigi herself. Inspired by their perspectives, a group of international journalists sat down – literally on the ground, in a circle, like proper girlfriends – with the model to hear her thoughts on the questions that kept popping up in our minds throughout the talk, all of which you can read in the interview below.
How do you get yourself off the couch when you’re lacking motivation?
First of all, I think it’s important to give yourself rest when you need it because you need that in order to have the energy – it’s knowing how to balance your body and listening to yourself. Second of all, that’s why I couldn’t just sign to Equinox and go run on the treadmill. For me, that’s just so boring, and I wouldn’t be able to get myself out of bed to go do that – it’s just not happening. So that’s why I started working out with Rob.
It’s not even about getting a personal trainer, it’s about working out somewhere that feels like a community. When I walk into Gotham Gym, all my big brothers are there and they’re like, “Yo G! You’re so much faster than ever!” It’s wanting to get better at something and waking up to go to the gym to prove yourself to your coach, feel stronger that day, or feel like you got quicker at something. It’s just something that keeps you motivated besides what you look like because that, also, takes a really long time and it’s really hard to feel like you’re moving.
Your body’s always the slowest to react behind your mind in actually getting there or getting better at what you’re doing, so it’s about finding something that motivates you mentally. If I don’t go to the gym, Rob FaceTimes me saying, “Where are you?!” But I might have been in Paris for a month. Even if I can’t work out that day, he will say, “Let’s go for lunch.” It’s people who support me not only physically, but also want to know how I’m doing that day. And if I want to punch a little bit harder for some reason, they’re there for you. So it’s cool when you feel like you have a community.
What does sports mean, personally, for you? Is it just a way to keep fit or is it something more in your life?
The reason that my mom wanted me to stop working when I was a kid and take that time for myself to be an athlete and be really proud of being one was because she wanted me to have that pride in my body – to have a confidence in yourself before you go into an industry that’s going to judge you is so important.
When I started, I had a lot more muscle than I have now because I was working out double the amount as an athlete, but I was proud of my legs being bigger and I knew how much hard word all of this took. That’s what was positive for me. That’s how I judged myself – on being stronger rather than skinnier. Right now, I work a lot, and stress has a big impact on my body. I have thyroid problems that I’m figuring out the medication for. I’m turning 21, and my metabolism’s changing.
It’s just about trial and error, and learning about yourself and listening to your body – that’s where you find your confidence.
For this Victoria’s Secret show, the preparation was completely different – last year, it was a lot more intense with diet and working out whereas, this year, I was doing squats every time I went to the kitchen and telling my butt to grow while eating a burger. It’s just about trial and error, and learning about yourself and listening to your body – that’s where you find your confidence. It’s not about what others think.
A year ago, people would say I was too fat, and now they say I’m too skinny. I’m like, you guys, stop wasting your energy on telling me. I’m happy, and if I gain ten pounds and have a butt again, I’m stoked on that too. It’s just listening to your body and what makes you happy. That’s what I try to do, but a lot of people waste their time thinking their opinion is going to change me.
Do you have a body part you think is imperfect, while other people think it’s perfect?
There are little things like… I think my knee looks weird today. But I try to not focus on those things. I feel like everyone has a different thing every day that they find weird, but it takes a lot more effort to focus on them. That’s different than when you go to the gym and you’re trying to work on something. Let’s say I wanted my butt to be perky for the VS show, so I would put a sticky note in my kitchen that said ‘squat’ – and every time I walked past the sticky note, I did 15 squats. You work on things in positive ways instead of thinking about what’s wrong with them, and thinking of getting to where you want to be instead.
Do you change your exercise routine when you go to a show? Is it the same for Fashion Week as it is for the VS show?
Personally, I do the same eating and workout routine year round – again, it was very different from how it was for me last year. This year, my body is in a place where I didn’t want to lose more weight. I just wanted to work on specific parts; it’s a lot of little things. I box year round, but then, I did a ballet class two days before the VS show to work on little things because when you excite your muscles in ways that aren’t muscle memory, that’s also important.
When you do the same things too often, that becomes muscle memory, and muscles start to not react to it. So then, if you surprise yourself with a really hard ballet class, you come out the next day with ripped things that sometimes wouldn’t be there if you had done it two weeks prior. Or the night before, it’s good to eat a lot of carbs that your muscles soak up and look more prominent. There are these little things, tricks. For example, that’s why football teams do carb-loading meals where they only eat pasta because their muscles are stronger the next day.
The holiday season is full of travel. What are your tips for staying calm, comfy, and chic amongst all the madness?
Calm? This year, I’m deleting social media – not my account, just the apps off my phone – so that’s how I’m going to stay calm mentally. Comfy, I’m always kind of comfy, wearing athleisure all the time. That’s why I love skiing, because you can be cute and sporty at the same time. I think I’m more often trying to be comfy rather than chic during the holidays, if I’m being honest. I’m really good at finding things that are comfy and chic… I would say that’s an art of mine. I’m very lucky to be in the industry at a time when athleisure is cool, or else I would not be on any style charts whatsoever without leggings being accepted in the fashion world.
I feel the best version of myself when I’m given the opportunity to say what I want to say and be who I want to be.
Being a model is a job with a lot of pressure, often quite difficult to cope with. Why did you decide to be a model?
I decided to become a model because I loved fashion images and, even before I knew and was interested in designers and clothes, I really loved photographers and images. I loved learning about how a model was a part of that, I loved learning about creative direction, how shoots are put together, and who’s in charge of what. I just loved all of that and then, when I was signed at 19, the thing that felt very natural to me – which was social media – started to become really important.
When you want to be something, when you want to be a model, you don’t necessarily think about all the things that come with it. I’m still learning about it, and I didn’t previously realize a lot of the things that are now part of my job – but they are things that are my reality now, and I have to learn to deal with them.
Are you afraid of social media?
I’m not afraid, I just think you flow with how strong you’re able to be sometimes and, also, I think it’s really important to remind yourself that you don’t owe anyone. Obviously, you owe your fans and the people who are supporting you – you owe them your gratitude for that – but I’m going to take a month off social media, and it’s empowering to feel like I’m choosing when I’m share parts of my life. I think that’s what’s really important for me.
Also, reminding people that are weirdly entitled to other people’s lives because they are supportive of you. I’m so grateful for everyone who supports me, but that doesn’t mean they get to have a negative opinion of my life and affect my life negatively. It’s like empowering yourself that you are choosing to give a message at this time or you are choosing to post a message at a certain time. Then, when you want to take that away, that’s okay, too – and that doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or letting anyone down.
I’m going to be there in a month to tell everyone how grateful I am that they’re still following me, but I just needed the time for myself. So, it’s nice to be able to, for the first time in my life, feel like: it’s going to be okay. I’m going to take time for myself, and people won’t forget about me and they’re going to think I’m still a good person.
What is your workout for guaranteed results and health?
It’s a mix. I think boxing and ballet are really good for me. Boxing is completely different. I think it’s good year round because it’s the team thing that I was talking about, and it’s a good all-round workout. Then, it’s hard, but if you want to do ballet every day, you are going to have guaranteed results because it works on really specific parts. So if you want to have toning here and you work on that every day, that’s really good. I think knowing specifically what you want to work on, putting more energy into that, and knowing that results come with time is really important.
So, this campaign is about being the best version of yourself. What do you do to be the best version of yourself?
I always feel prouder when I’m just a good person. I feel the best version of myself when I’m given the opportunity to say what I want to say and be who I want to be. The Reebok #PerfectNever panel discussion felt like therapy to me because I got to talk about stuff that I personally needed to talk about, and that other people needed to hear and talk about. I feel the best version of myself during times like these, when I really give myself so the people in the room know me for that day… and that feels really good.
See Gigi Hadid’s top picks of the latest Reebok collection in Savoir Flair’s roundup below.