November 19, 2016 11:02 AM

Yolanda Hadid is standing by her daughter Bella Hadid.

The 20-year-old supermodel recently found herself in hot water after her new deal with Nike became the subject of online criticism from those who questioned whether she was a right fit for the athletic brand.

After sharing the news of the campaign on Instagram, Bella’s page became filled with comments that she’s “way too skinny to represent a sports brand,” and “doesn’t even have an athletic body.”

But Bella’s mother Yolanda doesn’t agree with the critics. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum defended her daughter to TMZ — explaining that Bella competed in equestrian riding every weekend from age 3 until 15.

She had to stop riding when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease — an illness she shares with her mother and that can fog the brain.

“[Bella] had to give up her lifelong dream of having a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics due to her severe symptoms and inability to ride,” Yolanda wrote on her BravoTV blog in January.  “[She] struggles with symptoms of chronic Lyme every day.”

“Always remember who you were before the world told you who you should be,” Yolanda captioned an Instagram shot posted Friday of young Bella riding.

RELATED VIDEO: Bella Hadid Shares Her Passion for Horseback Riding

Even if Bella didn’t have her athletic background, Yolanda said her Nike deal would still be warranted.

“You obviously don’t have to be an athlete to wear or enjoy Nike wear,” she told TMZ. 

After Bella’s deal was announced, Olympic skater Meryl Davis tweeted her disapproval over using yet another model to promote workout gear.

The 29-year-old, who won Dancing with the Stars in 2014, posted side-by-side photos of Hadid in Nike gear, Kylie Jenner in a Puma outfit, and one of Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman in Reebok — writing “I’ll take the one promoted by the athlete please.”

Hadid recently admitted that she “accidentally” lost more weight than she intended, telling PEOPLE that she “really didn’t mean to.”

“I want boobs. I want my ass back,” she said. “But it’s not my fault. My weight fluctuates and so does everybody’s and I think that if people are gonna judge, that’s the worst you can possibly do because everybody is different.”

“I worked out so hard and everybody is like, ‘Oh, she looks so skinny blah, blah, blah,’ ” Hadid said. “But I think that if you just stick to something you can really achieve so much. I’ve been eating hard protein every day, and working out for three hours every day. It’s crazy but I think that you know if you set your mind to something I think you can succeed.”

You May Like