"I’m from Malibu, California. Once I tell people they’re like, ‘Oh of course you’re from Malibu; that makes sense.’ I guess I am your typical just-graduated-high-school-in-Malibu type of girl. Our school was just across from Zuma beach, and we all wore Lululemons and bathing suit tops to go to the grocery store—no makeup, no shoes. Everything there is pretty laid back.
I’m 19 now and I go to The New School in New York, where I study Criminal Psychology. My first week of second semester was during fashion week when my first editorials in CR Fashion Book and Sports Illustrated came out. It was crazy! I had never done anything racy like that before, but the Sports Illustrated pictures aren’t too bad...I’m not naked. It’s funny because right when I met my boyfriend is when I found out that I was doing it. Obviously I couldn’t talk about it before that because I didn’t want to go around being like, ‘Oh yeah, I had a meeting with Sports Illustrated,’—that would be embarrassing if I didn’t end up getting it. But once it came out he was pretty excited. [Laughs]
My agent, Luiz pushes me to do things that I never thought that I would’ve been able to do. He’ll tell me that I’m going to shoot with Steven Meisel, and I’m like, ‘What are you talking about? Steven Meisel is never going to want to shoot me.’ He just makes things happen and believes in me more than I believe in myself, which encourages me to have bigger goals. Like going to meet Carine Roitfeld—like…what?!
This is an industry with a lot of creative people doing really different things, so I try to study high fashion and understand what the people I'm working with want out of a shoot. My mom was a model, so she’s been really good about giving me tips on how to navigate behind the scenes—like the importance of being nice to everyone on set and remembering people’s names, to how to be a positive part of the photo shoot and stuff like that. Another person I’ve looked up to my whole life is Candice Swanepoel—she’s my favorite supermodel ever. I’ve never told her that I’ve always been obsessed with her, but I think she’s amazing and I’d always loved how she was doing Victoria’s Secret and still walking at fashion week at the same time. I thought that was really cool. It’s good to know how to be sexy, but something I'm still trying to work on is learning how to not be sexy, because that’s an important part of growing as a model.
It’s funny because in real life you’ll see me at a party in, like, boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt and heels. I’m not really one to put on a push-up bra or short shorts or tight little mini dresses, I get all of that out with work. That’s how I use up my girly-girl side; I’m not as feminine in my everyday life. I’m really competitive—I’m an athlete and played volleyball all through high school—so working out is fun for me. My trainer will tell me the women’s records for different things at the gym, and I'll have to beat one by the end of the day or I won’t leave.
I lived in a tour bus with my boyfriend in Europe, sleeping in bunk beds and eating McDonalds every day. When I got back I wasn’t feeling amazing and had to have a vegetable. New York is great for being healthy—I have a Juice Press right around the corner and I make my own food all the time. But burgers and fries are my weakness.
I don’t wash my hair every day, which is what keeps it healthy because that way it doesn’t dry out. Being on the beach all the time gave me my original highlights, but I get some balayage highlights on top so then when it grows out you can’t tell it's been colored. It’s definitely LA, balayage. It’s a low-maintenance way to be blonde—way easier than having to go to the salon all the time. I only go every six months or so.
I’ve always used John Frieda; their blonde stuff is really good. The Sheer Blonde Everlasting Blonde Shampoo makes my hair really soft, but I’m not sure that it actually makes it blonder. I use the GHD Smooth and Finish Serum—all of the GHD tools and serums are really great. Also I use Wella Ocean Spritz Beach Texture Hairspray—you spray it in and then just mess your hair up. For baby hairs, I have a face brush from Sephora [ed note: discontinued] that I spray with hairspray to push back anything leftover from when I pull it all into a ponytail, but I guess you could use a toothbrush. And I have my big jar of Emi-Jay Hair Ties, which is a company started by two girls I know from childhood. They’re cool because they’re colorful, so you can match them to your outfit. Oh God, I really am so California. [Laughs]
SKIN & BODY
I wash my face with the cheap stuff from CVS. Whenever I run out I just go and pick whichever one I think looks the coolest or smells good. Right now it’s the St. Ives Invigorating Apricot Scrub. Then I use Eucerin Intensive Repair Very Dry Skin Lotion for my body…and for my face [Laughs]—that’s embarrassing. For deodorant I like the clear gel because I can’t have any of that white residue when I’m working. Secret Flawless Clear deodorant has really good scents, so I use that mostly. Crest's Complete Multi-Benefit Gel in Cinnamon Expressions is another thing I always get at CVS. I really like it. The only product I’ll spend money on is Fresh's Sugar Lemon Bath & Shower Gel. It’s my favorite thing in the world—it just smells so good.
I was in the campaign, so I have the Tom Ford Velvet Orchid perfume, but that’s for nighttime because it’s definitely not a light fragrance. It’s what I’ll wear if I have a really cool event to go to. Tom was actually there and really active on all the shoots I’ve done for the brand. It was cool to see someone at the top of a company like that so involved—he called every shot from the makeup to whether or not he liked a certain pair of tights. He dresses really well, too.
I start off with Koh Gen Do Aqua Foundation in O13. My mom uses it, so I just went along. I put it on with a Tarte Buffer Airbrush Finish Bamboo Foundation Brush—they actually work really nice together. The Aqua Foundation is nice because it doesn’t cake and it just brightens my skin. It’s also light enough, so you can still see my freckles. If I have blemishes I use Maybelline SuperStay 24 Hour Wear Concealer, which I bought at the drugstore a few years ago. For blush, currently it’s Jouer's Mineral Powder Blush in Blossom, simply because I like the color. My favorite mascara is the Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Spectacular Volume & Curl Mascara in Black 090—the brush is bent! I use it with a Covergirl Makeup Masters Eyelash Curler.
If I’m going to an event, Charlotte Tilbury has a contouring and highlighting palette called Filmstar Bronze & Glow that I love, and I’ll also use the MAC Brow Set in Clear. Sometimes I do liquid eyeliner—Urban Decay's 24/7 Waterproof Liquid Eyeliner is nice because it has such a pointy end that it kind of makes the line for you. Then, after I do all my makeup, if it starts feeling a little dry or flat, I will use this Epicuren Protein Mist Enzyme Toner to make my skin look fresher and break it up a little bit.
ON GROWING UP
I haven’t done an actual nude shoot yet, but I might do it when I’m older. Ellen von Unwerth shot the Guess campaign that just came out, which isn’t the sexiest thing I’ve done, but it’s pretty sexy…there’s cleavage. Paul Marciano was actually the one who discovered me back when I was a friend of his daughter’s in preschool. He had me model for Baby Guess and Guess Kids, and then I stopped because my mom wanted me to have a normal life. Eileen Ford discovered her when she was only 16, so she wanted to hold me back and actually not letting me sign until I was 17 was probably the best thing my mom has done for me. I learned to accept myself as my own person and worked on other skills before jumping into an industry that's really judgmental and that isn’t permanent. People could hate me tomorrow, but I'll still be a student and a really good volleyball player—and maybe I’d have time to start riding horses again."
—as told to ITG
Gigi Hadid photographed by Tom Newton on July 21, 2014 in New York.