Gigi Hadid Says She's Made to Feel 'Too White' to Stand Up for Arab Heritage

The model opens up about how she and Zayn Malik plan to raise their baby girl, Khai.

Gigi Hadid is opening up about how she and Zayn Malik plan to raise their baby girl, Khai.

In a new interview with i-D, the 26-year-old model gets candid about their different heritages, and how they'll teach Khai to "be a bridge for her different ethnicities." Gigi is the daughter of Yolanda Hadid (Dutch-American) and Mohamed Hadid (Palestinian), while Zayn's father, Yaser Malik, is British Pakistani. The singer's mother, Trisha Malik, is of English and Irish descent.

"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," Gigi explains. "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. It's something I've always thought about my whole life."

"In certain situations, I feel -- or I'm made to feel -- that I'm too white to stand up for part of my Arab heritage," she continues. "You go through life trying to figure out where you fit in racially. Is what I am, or what I have, enough to do what I feel is right? But then, also, is that taking advantage of the privilege of having the whiteness within me, right? Am I allowed to speak for this side of me, or is that speaking on something that I don't experience enough to know?"

Gigi says that she thinks it will "be nice" to have conversations like this with Khai someday, "and see where she comes from [with] it, without us putting that onto her."

"What comes from her is what I'm most excited about," she adds, "and being able to add to that or answer her questions."

During another portion of the interview, Gigi also opens up about what it was like being pregnant amid the coronavirus pandemic. She and Zayn welcomed daughter Khai, who is their first child together, last fall.

"[It was] super strange. It obviously felt weird during fashion month when I secretly felt so sick at work but you can’t take a sick day during fashion week!" she admits. "I just had to pretend it wasn't happening. Or, you know, we had a birthday party and someone would offer me a drink, and I'm like, 'Oh, I'm not drinking this month' or whatever. And as everyone started to get tipsy, I would sneak out."

"There’s a bittersweetness because I know that obviously COVID-19 has been such a tragedy for so many people and families, and lives, and jobs," she continues. "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. It really gave me time to experience motherhood the way I wanted to, which was without a baby nurse and without a nanny for as long as I could before I went back to work."

Hear more in the video below.