Bella Hadid spoke about feeling pressure to project a “sexbot” image early in her modeling career.
She told Vogue that, at 17, she believed it was the only thing people wanted from her.
“It’s like there were two Bellas — me, this person in the process of figuring out who she was, and ‘Bella Hadid’ the alter ego, who was, I dunno, a sexbot who goes out every night?” she said.
“I have insane social anxiety! Partying is not my thing, but I felt enormous pressure to project that image because I assumed that’s all people wanted from me,” she said.
Bella added, “Now I don’t want to live in that box. I definitely feel like I’m allowed to speak.”
Bella previously opened up about experiencing panic attacks on a 2018 episode of Yolanda’s reality show “Making a Model.”
She said she found comparisons to her older sister Gigi Hadid, who is also a supermodel, particularly difficult because their personalities are so dissimilar. Gigi is “very bubbly” and “very out-there,” according to Bella, while she’s “always very reserved.”
“I would literally start crying and shaking if I had to do interviews at red carpet events,” she said, adding, “It was really nerve-racking and it’s scary.”
The model said she would occasionally “blackout” while she was walking a runway. “I would come out and be like, ‘Oh well I guess it’s over,'” she recalled.
Her symptoms eventually alleviated as she began working more and interacting with people regularly, Bella said.
“You’re like, ‘OK, I guess it’s my job, I have to do it.'”
Hadid took a break from social media earlier in 2021 in order to self-reflect.
She said upon her return to Instagram in late January: “I took some time away to reflect and learn about myself in a way that would be too much to explain at the moment, but with time I will express. The memories and fortune I came back with are pure wisdom, a closer relationship with myself & my spirituality, a sense of self-love that I have always lacked, a few great friends, and these books that saw me through.
“I found myself, my strength and my light again. I am only here to be an instrument of peace & love to help people that suffer and hopefully the world, in time… Thank you to my angels who have supported and have continued to love me , for me. You saved me. Take time to get help for your mental health. It’s worth it to get to your full potential.”