The supermodel reflected on the body shaming she experienced at the start of her career

By Julie Mazziotta
February 21, 2020 11:38 AM

Gigi Hadid is now one of the top supermodels in the game, but she struggled to breakthrough at the start of her career because people thought she “didn’t have a runway body.”

In 2015, Hadid was just finishing up high school and her time as a volleyball player.

“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 told i-D Magazine for their The Icons and Idols Issue.

Though she was happy with her body, Hadid, now 24, said that the modeling world wasn’t as accepting.

“It was a body that I loved,” she said. “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.”

Gigi Hadid in Jean Paul Gautier’s 2015 ready-to-wear show

That changed when designer Jean Paul Gautier cast Hadid in one of his Paris shows.

“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… like, there were still stylists or designers at that time who were putting me in their shows, but putting me something that really covered my body,” she said. “And so for him to make me feel like he wanted me to shine in that way, it really meant a lot to me as a young model. And I know that he has done that for a lot of people.”

Hadid has been open about getting criticized for her body over her career. Though designers first thought her body was too athletic, after she lost weight due to Hashimoto’s disease, Hadid was told she was too thin.

“I loved my body when I was curvier,” she said on a panel in 2018. “Then as I lost [the weight], people were still mean.”

“Yeah, I know I’m skinny,” she continued. “I’m looking in the mirror. I’m trying to eat burgers and do squats. I want an ass too. I get it. I got it. Thank you!”

Hadid said in another interview that year that she’s working on accepting her body, regardless of what people say.

“If I could choose, I would have my ass back and I would have the tits I had a few years ago. But, honestly, we can’t look back with regret. I loved my body then, and I love my body now,” she said. “It’s just about everyone accepting their body as it matures and knowing that it’s not always going to look the same and you can love yourself in all different sizes.”