Gigi Hadid shares how she and Zayn Malik approach raising their daughter Khai to honor all of their family backgrounds

Advertisement

Gigi Hadid is opening up about raising her child to honor all of their family tree.

The supermodel, 26, and Zayn Malik welcomed their first baby, daughter Khai, in September, and in a new cover story for i-D's "THE NEW WORLDWi-DE ISSUE" (out June 16), Hadid explains her approach to parenting, specifically when it comes to raising a mixed-race child.

"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," she says. "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!' "

The mom of one adds, "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," she continues, "I feel — or I'm made to feel — that I'm too white to stand up for part of my Arab heritage. 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 Hadid
Credit: DANIEL JACKSON for i-D

Hadid also shares, "I think that Khai will grow up feeling out the way that she can or wants to be a bridge for her different ethnicities. But I think that it will be nice to be able to have those conversations, 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, and being able to add to that or answer her questions, you know?"

Gigi Hadid
Credit: DANIEL JACKSON for i-D

Want to get the biggest stories from PEOPLE every weekday? Subscribe to our new podcast, PEOPLE Every Day, to get the essential celebrity, entertainment and human interest news stories Monday through Friday.

Gigi Hadid
Credit: DANIEL JACKSON for i-D

RELATED: Yolanda Hadid Says Granddaughter Khai 'Awoke' a Part of Her Heart She 'Never Knew Existed'

Hadid is the daughter of real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid, who is of Palestinian origin, and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid, who is Dutch-American. Malik was born in the U.K., and his dad is Pakistani and his mom is half-Irish.

In her Vogue cover story earlier this year, Hadid revealed the monikers she's using for Khai to refer to her grandparents. Mohamed will be Jido, which is "grandpa" in Arabic, and Yolanda will be Oma, which is "grandmother" in Dutch. Malik's mom will be Nini, a variation of the British Nana, and his dad will be Abu, from the Urdu.

Gigi Hadid
Credit: DANIEL JACKSON for i-D

RELATED VIDEO: Gigi Hadid Reveals Name of Her and Zayn Malik's 4-Month-Old Daughter

The supermodel also tells i-D about how the timing of her pregnancy during the onset of the pandemic last year had a "bittersweetness" since it meant more time at home with her family.

"There's a bittersweetness because I know that obviously COVID has been such a tragedy for so many people and families and lives and jobs. 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," she says.

"It really gave me time to experience motherhood the way I wanted to," she adds, "which was without a baby nurse and without a nanny for as long as I could before I went back to work."

On Mother's Day last month, Hadid shared a series of photos with her baby girl on Instagram, writing about the joys of parenthood. "The rumors are true: my best friend, purpose, muse, greatest pride & joy! I feel so lucky and inspired bein your mama, my Khai!!" she wrote at the time. "An old soul full of sunshine, you light up everyone's days! Thank you 🧡 thank you 💛 thank you 💕."