Bella Hadid has two seemingly attainable immediate goals: procure fast food and hang out with her friends. It’s an early July afternoon, and the 20-year-old model has just arrived in Arles, France for the opening of Dior, Art of Color. There are some minor roadblocks. We are at the secluded villa of Swiss heiress and art collector Maja Hoffmann. Lunch is a twee plant-based arrangement, garnished with edible flowers followed by a morsel of white fish. If, like me, your metabolism stopped humming at Hadid pace over a decade ago, the menu is a digestive blessing.
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“All I want is a cheeseburger and chicken nuggets,” Hadid says, nuzzling her friend, the hair guru Jen Atkin. “I don’t even know what planet I’m on right now.”
In person, all of Hadid’s Instagram attributes are exaggerated to epic proportions; unreasonably long Bambi limbs, puffy lips, and poreless skin. Her hair, cropped too-short from a recent photoshoot, is coaxed back into a ponytail with blunt clip-in bangs. She is wearing some kind of all-white, all-Dior ensemble.
“Fuck you!” she says to my too-comfortable version of an all-white outfit later that day, tracksuit pants and a T-shirt. Dress for the job you want, I guess. Hadid and I are sitting in a bungalow at Le Mas de la Fouque where we are both staying for the exhibition. Dior creative image director Peter Philips is there, as is Hadid’s French modeling agent Julien Clisson.
“In the past two months I’ve had three days off,” she tells me. “I had Margiela yesterday morning and then shot a Vogue cover and went straight to Fendi and got on a plane and came here. I had 40 minutes off yesterday. I get tired.”
Understatement of the century.
According to Clisson, Hadid has accomplished in one year what some of his more seasoned model clients have been able to do in 10. In addition to Dior makeup, she is currently under contract with Bulgari, Chrome Hearts, Nike, and Tag Heuer. In so far in 2017, Clisson estimates she has shot around 10 fashion campaigns and 40 editorials.
“I also hate saying no to things, which is my worst quality,” Hadid says, as though answering the requisite ‘what’s your biggest weakness’ job interview question. “Right now it’s hard. It’s a lot.”
The work obsession, she tells me, comes from her parents, billionaire real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid and former model and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills alum Yolanda Hadid. “I saw my dad come to America and have to start fresh and build up to what he has now. He left Palestine and came to America when he was older and started making the money he has now. People can say whatever they want about him, but I know how hard he worked to get where he is now.”
“My mom had to ride her bike to get to school every morning in Holland,” she continues. “There’s no way I can sit on my ass and do nothing. The only thing I can do to repay them is work as hard as they did. I never liked spending my parents’ money, so when I turned 17 and I was able to start having my own career, the only thing I really wanted was to be financially independent by the time I was 18, which I ended up doing.”
Eventually Hadid plans to channel her earnings into starting a charity and trading “this whole lifestyle” for mission trips. “I’ve done a lot of the goals I’ve had, but there’s always time to improve and things to do, and I won’t be done in a long time. I definitely have a lot to learn and a lot of things to move forward with.”
Photography by Renell Medrano.