You’ve heard top tips from her coach and been privy to her thoughts on the idea of perfection – now get ready to hear her secrets. Here, you’ll find all those little details that you never knew about Gigi Hadid as she opens up on her passions, personal sense of style, eating habits, and so much more at Reebok’s intimate interview session for the occasion of the brand’s #PerfectNever revolution launch in New York City.
What is the best advice you have gotten from your mom regarding beauty and life?
Regarding beauty: less is more. My mom let me play with her makeup as a kid, and I think that’s what was cool as once I started to wear a little bit of makeup, I didn’t really care. We were at the bar, played volleyball, and my mom didn’t wear any makeup, so I didn’t care about that either. So I wasn’t like kids who are scared to use makeup, but then go to high school and wear way too much.
In terms of work, I think she made me wait to start working after high school. She wanted me to be a volleyball player and ride horses, so I found a comfort level with myself that didn’t have anything to do with what I looked like… that I could carry into an industry that was going to judge me for the way I looked. I had to have other things that I knew about myself, and I was confident that I am a hard worker, a good person, and a good friend. Those are all the things you fall back on when the world judges you for things that, technically, are their opinion.
You’ve mentioned that it’s really important not to stress in the course of media, but sometimes there are days (for example the Victoria’s Secret show), when you have to be in the best shape. How do you make sure you get there, both physically and mentally?
Well, I think it’s really important to always be changing your diet and workout regime as much as you can because when you get static, especially body-wise, muscle memory at the end of the day turns into your body not changing because you’re doing the same thing. So, mentally, boxing is a big thing for me as it gives me the coach aspect of the community thing that I always talk about… but, also, I just like getting better and getting stronger and things like that. But then my body is always changing and I am always trying to figure things out – I am obviously not going to work out as hard as I used to as I don’t want to lose more weight.
I found a comfort level with myself that didn’t have anything to do with what I looked like.
This year, I was eating healthy but very well-rounded — carbs and veggies and meat —because that’s what I wanted to work on this year. I would eat big meals and do a lot of squats because I wanted to work on my butt, so it’s just little things like that. It’s learning these things about yourself and what works in the timing, so maybe also don’t do something for the first time when it’s an important time – but test it before.
Funnily enough, some of the VS girls I was at dinner with were eating spinach and whatever the night before, and then after the show, we had burgers. The next day, they woke up and they were like, “Wow, my muscles look so much better because I had a burger!” It’s interesting how they learned that without even trying so maybe, next year, they will have a burger the night before the show because their muscles will be more prominent the next day. Everyone is different. I grew up loving the VS Angels, but I’ve never googled what they were eating or how they work out. I was an athlete, and I knew about myself in that way. It’s important to know yourself more than trying to copy others.
You have your very own personal, sporty aesthetic. What inspired you to create your own style?
It really started with me being an athlete in high school because I wanted to wear a sports bra, so that I didn’t have to change after school. I wanted to wear leggings, so I could go straight to practice – little things like that started to develop into my personal style because I would throw a sweater over in high school and then, when I moved to New York, someone sent me a designer jacket so I put that over my leggings because I was in college and having to go to castings and work out, all at the same time.
I would wake up at six in the morning and go to school, and then go straight to the gym, so I had to make a cute outfit obviously for school – but then, underneath, there was the outfit I was going to work out in at the end of the day. I kind of had to put together clothes that felt comfortable, felt like me, and felt efficient. But yeah, it really came from wanting to be comfortable all the time, to be honest. I just feel I can be more myself if I am more comfortable. I hate being at the party and pulling down a tight skirt all night when I can just put on leggings and heels, and be comfortable.
Whose style would you steal?
A lot of different people. I feel like, every day, I see someone on a street of New York City and I copy a little thing. I don’t have one style inspiration, I have a lot. I’m inspired by cool colors, and I like kind of conceptual outfits right now. I like figuring out the vibe of the day and, the next day, maybe doing something completely different.
What motivates you to exercise every day?
Well, I think I really had to start dealing with the motivation thing when I moved to New York because, in high school, when I was late for practice, my whole team ran. Things like that become important to you as a child athlete, and you start to use that as an adult. It’s different circumstances now, but I think you learn that the importance of certain things – like your time – is as important as everyone else. Being an athlete really helps me now, and there are things I don’t have to think about because they come naturally to me and that’s really nice – people appreciate it.
I try to be authentic every day, and a lot of people who are in the public eye are trying to be authentic every day.
When I moved to New York, I was not trying to wake up in the morning and go run. Mostly, I have never put that much pressure on how I looked. It was never like, ‘I have to go to the gym because I want to get skinnier.’ It was always like, ‘I want to go to practice to make my coach happy, be a better athlete, and get better at this.’ That’s why boxing became so important to me. When I woke up, I was like, ‘I don’t want to be there.’ But I knew that if I don’t show up, Rob was going to FaceTime me and be like, ‘Where are you?!’ You have to find people who motivate you, you have to find something. I think being an athlete and being proud of my athletic ability, rather than what it did physically, was very important for me going into this industry.
We talked earlier about authenticity and being yourself. In today’s world, especially when there is so much attention on you through social media, when do you feel most authentic?
Well, that’s what’s really hard. I try to be authentic every day, and a lot of people who are in the public eye are trying to be authentic every day. When you’re trying to give energy and be real, and people still come back to you with so much negativity, you think, ‘Is anyone getting me?’ What inspires me to go back, then, is my message – and why have I been given this platform. Yes it’s hard sometimes, but I also do believe in what I talk about, and that’s cool. That’s a big part of why I’m going to take the month off social media because, regardless, if you are making countless efforts to make it not affect you, it does.
When you are able to separate yourself from that, you can then center back to ‘Why am I here’, ‘What is my message’, and ‘What am I confident about’ – and I don’t have to worry about those other things. So when I come back to social media and start going back to interviews, the judgment isn’t on my voice. I am not scared of every word I am about to say, and I feel more confident in myself, in that what I’m saying is a good thing. I am maybe helping people instead of just thinking about what negatively comes from all of it.
When I feel most genuine is when I get an opportunity like this. Today felt really good for me because I wasn’t put in a place where I had to rush with what I needed to say or I didn’t get to fully develop what I wanted to say. It’s nice to be given the time, and for people to sit around and just let each other know that you can relate to each other. That’s really nice.
We’ve talked a lot about friends and family today. Do you like to work out alone or with friends?
I like to work out alone, just because it’s a good time for my mental space. I think it’s also good to balance it. A massive part of my pride and being an athlete is being a teammate. There are just different times – when I play volleyball, I don’t want to go play volleyball with myself. I want to go back to my hometown and go to the beach club and play volleyball. But when I’m boxing, I like being with Rob and my brothers at the gym. It’s just different situations, but yes, I love the kind of camaraderie in sport.
Besides people, what inspires you? Do you have a specific passion for something?
I love documentaries about anything. I just like to get a real-world glance at any world that I don’t know about. I always head first to the documentary section before anything else. I love cooking because it really calms me down, but also, I love to just ask a friend what random thing she wants to eat right now, and I like challenging myself in the kitchen that way – that’s really fun for me. Things that inspire me outside of fashion are the things I do on my days off. I paint, I cook, and I watch documentaries – all the things that make me feel calm and like I’m learning or doing something that gets my brain working. It makes me happy and no pressure is involved, so I really enjoy it.
We’ve talked a lot about women inspiring you, which is really important. What about men? It sounds like when you go to the gym, you work out with your “brothers”.
Yes, the two coaches who have been very, very important in my life are men –my volleyball coaches in high school and the junior Olympics. They are still the guys who will text me in tense situations saying, “You are awesome, dude. I am here for you.” I go back home and play with their club volleyball teams; they are just kids and, to them, I might be Gigi Hadid the model, but my coach can say, “She was an awesome athlete and she has worked so hard.” That makes me feel so much cooler than, “Oh, we have a model here to play volleyball”. That’s awesome.
When I feel most genuine is when I get an opportunity like this. Today felt really good for me because I wasn’t put in a place where I had to rush with what I needed to say.
Now, Rob has become that big-brother figure who you can call when it’s not girl talk, and he is like, “Come to the gym, let’s box for 30 minutes and then we’ll go get some tea.” It’s nice to have people in your life who obviously can push you, but then, if you need a five-minute break to talk about something, you can trust that person. It’s a different energy in your life. I think masculine and feminine energies are very important as an athlete and just a person in general.
You said you love cooking. I want to know a bit more about your meal plan and generally what you eat, how you eat, and what you love.
I’m really into a balanced diet. I am cool with carbs and meat. I eat everything, but I am really into quality ingredients. I always buy organic, I shop really well, and I like cooking at home. I make a tomato soup from scratch – it cooks for a long time, you can add a little pasta, and then I do wholegrain grilled-cheese dippers on the side. But I do it all from scratch, so it feels like you are having a great meal, but it’s all really healthy. I love spaghetti Bolognese, anything that has all of those different elements, but I know that they’ve come from a good place. I just love becoming a better chef, and it’s really fun for me to challenge myself. I think quality ingredients is where you need to start, always.