Gigi Hadid Says She Was Told She Didn't Have a 'Runway Body' at the Start of Her Career

gigi hadid on Chanel Metiers D'Art 2019-2020 Runway
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'I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body.'

Gigi Hadid wasn't accepted by the modeling world early in her career. In a new interview with i-D, the 24-year-model reveals that, when she was trying to break into the industry shortly after graduating from high school, her body was criticized. She caught her break, though, when Jean Paul Gaultier hired her to walk the runway in Paris.

"He was the first designer that let me walk on a runway in Paris, it was in his last ready-to-wear show. At the time I was still starting out in my career, I was coming out of high school, I still had my volleyball body," she explains. "It was a body that I loved. I knew how hard I worked to have those muscles, to be curved in those places -- I kind of miss it now."

"At the time, people were hard on me and tried to say that I didn’t have a runway body," she continues. "So for Jean Paul to have me at his last ready-to-wear show in 2015 -- not only to have me, but also to put me in an outfit that didn’t cover a lot… [and] make me feel like he wanted me to shine in that way, it really meant a lot to me as a young model."

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Prior to Gaultier's support, Hadid credits her mom, Yolanda Hadid, with encouraging her to pursue her dreams.

"She always allowed me to be creative growing up, she had such a positive impact and always encouraged me to express myself in any way, whether that was cooking, drawing, trying to learn how to sew or letting me use and break her cameras," she explains. 

As Hadid made her way in the industry, another designer, Tommy Hilfiger, became an important figure in her career.

"Tommy Hilfiger giving me four seasons of a collection was insane," she says. "To put that kind of trust in someone -- it gave me so much confidence in myself and that meant so much to me."

With her career as successful as it is now, Hadid finds it important to take time for herself, something she does at her family's farm in Pennsylvania. 

"I think that the weird and wonderfulness of it comes from also being in isolation. A lot of the time, I’ll have friends and family at the farm, but there are a lot of days where I’m there just by myself, and I sit in my little cottage in silence and just doing these little things for myself," she says. "I think that also gives me the energy and the love for what I do. It recharges my batteries."

Though she's busy working now, Hadid admits that she's not sure how long she'll continue to model.

"One day I’ll start a family and I don’t know if I will always be modelling," she says. "I love the creative side of fashion, it’s so fulfilling. The people I work with make me so happy, I’m so lucky to be around them. But who knows? Maybe I’ll take up full-time cooking!"