Not so surprisingly, the girls seem to have always been beauties.
Bella and Gigi Hadid. They’re sisters and supermodels and while we know them for their jet-setting Instagram snaps their oh-em-gee modeling shots, and their gorgeous selves — once upon a time they were just regular teens growing up in Southern California. The girls were raised in Malibu and did things every other normal teen does. They went to high school, they joined the volleyball team, they rode horseback. Even though Gigi got her start in modeling at a young age (she modeled for Baby Guess when she was barely two-years-old), she took a break to experience life as a normal kid. Both Bella and Gigi didn’t even expect to become models. Gigi nearly qualified for the Olympic horseback riding team but had to cut that dream short due to her Lyme diagnosis. Gigi moved to New York at 18 to study criminal psychology.
However, their upbringings weren’t entirely “normal.” Bella was friends with Kendall Jenner all the way back in high-school and they both appeared on “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” (their mom Yolanda Hadid was a cast member) before either became household names in their own rights.
Scroll through the gallery to see these superstars long before they became supermodels.
15. Gigi During An Appearance On ‘The Real Housewives Of Beverly Hills’
Yolanda joined the cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills in 2012. Gigi and Bella didn’t appear on the show until they were 18. This photo is the first time Gigi every showed up on camera, and she looks so young here! Bella told Elle UK that their mom didn’t consult them before she joined the show, because as Bella puts it, “We were kind of iffy about it at first. But she was an interior designer, so it was kind of a job.”
Bella says that “being on the show wasn’t about me trying to get famous. It was just trying to make my mom happy.”
Gigi has been on Real Housewives many times. Sometimes she would stop by in between her skyrocketing career. In one episode she talked about potentially going to back to school to finish her criminal psychology degree.
In another episode, Gigi, Bella, and brother Anwar all appear and their mother shocks them with the news that she’s leaving them with her living will “just in case.” In all of the appearances, all the Hadid children come across as very poised, grounded, and kind — considering the fact they grew up in mansions in Malibu, Ca.
14. The Girls On That Yacht Life
One of our favorite things about the Hadid sisters is how much they adore each other and are true friends as adults. Gigi says she was obsessed with her little sister from an early age.
“[As a toddler] I was always flipping trash cans or something, so I could stand up and get up high enough to look into her crib and check on her. All I do my entire life – the purpose – is just to watch over Bella,” Gigi told Elle Magazine. “I’m gonna start getting emotional… [she starts fanning her face]. She’s one of the only people that I’ll get aggressive for… [she starts crying] Sorry! I didn’t mean to do this. She makes me so proud and I would do anything for her.”
She went on to talk about their upbringing and how they’ve evolved over the years.
“We were good girls. Bella definitely was the more rebellious. We’re different, but we’re also the same in a lot of ways. We’re both creative, we love riding horses, we love being outdoors and we’re spiritual – we have the same values of kindness and passion. That’s why I connect with her as an adult.”
“I think the most we ever fought was like in middle school if she would steal my clothes out of my closet. You know, now she sleeps at my apartment during the week and she can wear whatever she wants. She’s definitely stolen more out of my closet than me out of hers.”
13. Bella And Gigi In A Vintage Instagram Photo
Here the girls are in a vintage Instagram photo. This was likely taken right before Gigi made her splash in Sports Illustrated and started to become a well-known name. In the first few years of the girls’ success, the industry labeled them the “social media models” alongside others like Kendall Jenner, Karlie Kloss, and Cara Delevingne. However, Gigi says she’s eventually rejected that label and pulled back on sharing her life on social media for that very reason.
“It was interesting because we were named the social media models,” Gigi told Elle Magazine, “but that started to grow and feel more forced by the industry, I felt like I backed away from it. I always have tried to remain as true as I can to how I started [on Instagram]. I don’t take captions that clients have sent me and copy and paste it. I won’t sign contracts anymore that say you have to post pictures that brands tell you to post.”
Gigi even lamented that dealing with Instagram critics eventually becomes exhausting.
“I can’t take on the bad energy that people try to put on me at times. I try to just accept that I can’t have control over everyone’s opinion and I hope that when people meet me in real life they can have their own opinions and experience with me,” she revealed in the same interview.
12. The Girls With Their Mom And Her Then-Husband David Foster
Mohamed Hadid is the girls’ father, though they lived with music producer David Foster for nearly four years, as he married their mother in 2011 and became their step-dad until he and Yolanda’s separation in 2015 and eventual divorce in 2017. From dating till their divorce, Yolanda said they were together for a good seven years.
Even though David is no longer with their mother, he revealed in 2017 to DailyMailTV that he still has a good relationship with Bella, Gigi, and Anwar. “I mean divorce puts a strain on everybody, yeah but Gigi and Bella are doing amazing and they’re so busy that I don’t talk to them much but we do text, yeah we’re still good,” he said.
Their connection to David Foster is interesting because that makes them technically related to Sara and Erin Foster, the actresses AND it means that Bella and Gigi are also loosely related to Kendall and Kylie Jenner, and here’s why.
Before marrying Yolanda, David was married to a woman named Linda Thompson. Before Linda Thompson was married to David Foster, she was married to Caitlyn Jenner. Caitlyn went on to marry Kris Jenner and have Kendall and Kylie. So yeah, the Hadids and the Jenners are technically family.
11. The Girls With Baby Bro Anwar And Their Dad Mohamed
Let’s break down this sunny family portrait. Top left is mom Yolanda, next to her is the girl’s younger brother Anwar (also a model, more on him later), and on the far right is Gigi’s ex-boyfriend Cody Simpson. You might remember when Cody and Gigi dated from 2013 to 2015, which around the time that the world learned that Gigi was a supermodel force to be reckoned with. Cody is an Australian singer and to be honest, he hasn’t done much since splitting with Gigi, which only further proves her status as a Hollywood power player.
On the bottom, we have Gigi, Bella, and their father Mohamed Hadid. You probably know him as their dad, but also from his various appearance on Bravo reality shows as a friend of Lisa Vanderpump’s.
As for their brother Anwar, he’s been making a name for himself as a male model, though his mom told W Magazine that tends to lay low.
“Anwar’s actually kind of shy. Unless I push him into things, he likes to be in the background and do his thing. It’s just not part of his nature, and I try to really respect that,” Yolanda told the publication.
Regardless, that’s one photogenic family (ex-boyfriends included).
10. Bella And Gigi On The Way To A Red Carpet
Though the girls are now uber famous and go to red carpets all the time, we’re gonna guess that this early outing was a much bigger deal than a red carpet might be for them now.
Gigi told Vogue UK that when she and Bella aren’t working, they’re just chilling at their family’s house in California.
“[We hang out] mostly at the farm [in California], which we love because we can just walk out without wearing makeup and without getting dressed up, and go ride our horses or just hang out and watch The Food Network. That’s when we feel the most normal when it’s not being stuck in the apartment in New York because we can’t walk out the door without the media frenzy.”
If anything, the girls seem like they’d rather just hang out in each other’s company than anything else.
“Last year I was traveling a lot to the point where I was going completely insane” Bella revealed in the same interview with Vogue UK.
“I always knew that I could come back and have my sister and my mom there for me. Like two nights ago I slept at Gigi’s house and waited till she got home to open the door for her at 6:30am.“
“I always like to put in a little bit more effort just so we can see each other and have a moment.”
9. Bella At the Beginning of High School
Bella joked that once upon a time she used to be quite the life of the party, but now at her old-age of 21 (eye-roll), she says her high school party days are behind her.
“I think when I was 17, and for 2 years after, I definitely had a lot of fun,” Bella recalled to Vogue UK. “I loved going to parties, dancing with my friends and being a teenager. Then I turned 21 and I’m like such a loser. I was completely sober on my 21st birthday. Can you believe that? My sister tried to have a shot with me and I literally was like, ‘Ugghh I can’t.’ I could take on all the boys before and now I’m like.. [pulls a prim face].”
“I’m like so old and wise,” she said with a laugh. “There’s not a lot of fun happening because I really love my bed. My girlfriends know that if they wanna see me they can come over. This year with work it was like, if I had a glass of wine I would be like… I mean the morning after I just looked horrific.”
We highly doubt you looked horrific, girl, but we get it!
8. The Duo Right Before Their Fame Took Off
Despite the girl’s shared genes, Bella always thought she’d be behind the camera as a photographer. When she eventually started to model, she wasn’t sure, because it was “Gigi’s thing.”
“There wasn’t really one time in my life where I was like, ‘I want to be a model!’ It was more Gigi’s thing,” Hadid told Teen Vogue when she first started modeling.
“I do like being in front of the camera more and more. Having experience behind it has taught me about lighting and angles, how to move, and what looks good and what doesn’t.”
However, there’s zero competition between the girls because of their very distinct looks.
“In Gigi and Bella’s case,” their mother Yolanda Hadid told W Magazine. “They’re so different, especially with their looks. In the industry, if someone’s looking for you know, the all-American, blonde, blue eyes, they’re not gonna book Bella, and if they’re looking for someone darker and exotic, they’re not gonna book Gigi. So they’re not in competition, and I think they got that messaging very early on, before they even started their careers.”
Even though they both didn’t intend to become two of the world’s most powerful models, it’s where they ended up, and they’re clearly killing it.
7. Bella In 2009 At A Horse Show
Bella has long-been an equestrian and was even so good she almost joined the U.S. Olympic riding team, a dream that was derailed after her Lyme disease diagnosis. Despite putting her professional equestrian ambitions on hold, she’s maintained a love for her horses.
She once told Teen Vogue how hard it was when she had to sell her favorite horse: Lego.
“I rotated between a few horses that could jump higher or whatever. But Lego was my main, my ride or die,” Hadid told the magazine. “When I had to sell him, it was like a breakup! I was really traumatized. You can ask any equestrian: You develop a crazy, emotional connection with this animal. When you’re riding a horse, they have full control over you, and they can literally kill you in a second, so you build a trust with them.”
Her equestrian skills are so well-known that when her rumored boyfriend The Weeknd released his EP in early 2018, he mentioned having a relationship with an equestrian in the song “Wasted Times” and everyone immediately knew he was referring to Bella.
If modeling ever stops working out, Bella will always have her horses, but she’s so fabulous, we bet this modeling thing will continue to pan out for her.
6. Gigi Not Happy To See The Paps
This photo was snapped by the paparazzi in the early days of Gigi’s modeling career. Famous enough to get papped, but still not quite the super successful supermodel we’ve come to know and love. Sadly, she doesn’t look too pleased to see the paparazzi here.
Gigi later explained how she’s come to understand that paparazzi and success go hand-in-hand, even though she’ll never get used to it.
“I understand that it comes with the territory, but it’s also very intense to always have to consider,” she told Glamour Magazine in 2016. “I don’t think it will ever be normal, and if people ever feel like it’s normal, then that’s weird.”
Though her sister Bella says she’s navigating this weird high-profile biz like a champ.
“She’s so understanding of the demands of this job, and it’s really great that I can talk to her about it, because a lot of the time I feel suffocated by my work ethic and by the expectations I put on myself,” Bella revealed in the same interview.
“It’s really nice when you have people who say, ‘It’s okay to take time for yourself.'”
Gigi is quite the consummate professional, but that doesn’t mean she can’t get frustrated with the paparazzi every so often.
5. Gigi When She Had A Shocking Lob Haircut
Gigi is a model, so naturally, she switches her look up A LOT. She’s rocked faux lobs, faux pixies, and even faux bangs — but we’ve never seen a photo with her hair shorter than halfway down her bag. This picture must be super old because Gigi’s hair has never been this short in her entire professional career.
Apparently, Gigi isn’t even allowed to cut her hair anymore. She once told W Magazinethat she is required to maintain beachy waves at all times, but she divulged her secret for keeping her hair healthy.
“I’m not allowed to do anything with my hair. My goal is to keep it healthy. When I have time off, I do coconut oil in my hair and I just put it in a bun and don’t wash it,” she said. “You can shower, obviously. But just keep your hair in a bun for like three days, keep the coconut oil in and just keep it up, and then at the end when you wash it all out — when you wash it, do shampoo first, then rinse, then shampoo again, because if you do water first then the shampoo doesn’t go in and your hair is still oily.”
4. Bella With A Box Of Mac
This is an early social media post from Bella, back when she lived at her parent’s house and would jokingly post about things like boxes of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Now her Instagram is full of beautifully curated images from her luxe modeling life, but once upon a time, her feed was much more normal. However, Bella says she loves social media and communicates with her followers in a real way.
“Totally, I talk to a lot of them on social media. There’s a lot of girls who I have talked to for years now – given advice about their parents, about coming out, about work, about their love lives,” she told Vogue UK.
“If I wasn’t a model I’d be a therapist or something. I love talking to people and helping them. I feel people’s energy so intensely that it makes me feel sick [sometimes]. I get tired because I’m such an empath – but it makes me happy to help other people.”
She says she understands how she’s perceived and that she’d like people to think she’s a good role model. “It’s the biggest part about all this. It’s not about a pretty face or about how many covers you get. It’s about people being respectful and having a great work ethic and standing up for what they believe in. I’m so grateful for to be able to have a platform.”
3. Bella At Her 14th Birthday
This photo was taken in 2010 when Bella had first turned 14. She’s pictured here with her mom and her step-dad David Foster. However, we’d have to wait until 2014 for her to truly make her modeling debut. She laid low for a few years from 2010-2014 (presumably being a normal teen, and y’know, going to high school) but surfaced at the 2014 Kid’s Choice Awards and everyone was like, “Wait, there’s ANOTHER Hadid?!”
When Bella first started to model, she revealed that she’d always been in Gigi’s shadow a bit.
“I’m more the black sheep of the family,” a then-18-year-old Bella told Teen Vogue. “We’re very similar — we even have the same voice — but my whole life, she’s been the one with the good grades. She’s beautiful, smart, and funny, and I’ve always been the one who kind of rebels. I just wanted to show people that we’re different.”
Even though she’s 14 in this photo, growing up in a Hollywood family is still not the same as being a normal team. At 14 she was going to red carpet events and posing for celebrity photographers. So although she went to high school and waited to model until she was 18, she probably had a unique teenage experience.
2. Gigi In A Baby Guess Ad
Gigi, real name Jelena Noura Hadid, got her start early. In an interview with Vanity Fair,Gigi revealed that it was her mom’s friend, designer Paul Marciano, who encouraged Yolanda to let her daughter model. That led to Gigi’s first gig modeling for Baby Guess.
Gigi joked that the day before her first gig with Baby Guess she attempted to cut her own bangs, which is why she’s seen with a bandana in the photos aka the only way to disguise the hair blunder.
“I think my first campaign was when I was two,” Hadid told W Magazine.
“I don’t remember this, but the night before my first shoot, I cut my own bangs. So in my first baby Guess campaign, I’m wearing a bandana.”
“I started with Baby Guess, I did Guess Kids, and then I stopped because I was a really competitive horseback rider and a club volleyball player, ” Hadid also told Vanity Fair. “I kind of stopped modeling.”
Thankfully she found her way back to modeling because it’s clear that she’s thriving. She has more than 40 million Instagram followers and Forbes lists her as one of the world’s highest paid models with a reported net worth of $13 million.
1. One Of Gigi’s Earliest Headshots
Many people think Gigi came out of nowhere to steal the supermodel spotlight when in fact she’s been working at this career for ages. We saw her Baby Guess ad above, but it didn’t stop there. She did the Baby Guess campaign and then worked again for Guess Kids in 2005, but eventually her momager Yolanda decided it was best if she took a break to go to school.
“I believe it’s extremely important for any child to be given the time to mature. I didn’t want anyone judging her until I knew that she was strong enough to handle the rejection,” Yolanda told Vogue, before adding that she knew Gigi adored modeling. “I could immediately tell that she loved everything about the experience.”
In that same interview, Gigi revealed that she credits her success to her strong work ethic, which we think she got from starting her career at such a young age.
“My mum always told me if you’re not the nicest, most hard-working girl in the room there’s always going to be someone prettier than you who’s nicer and more hard-working. I intentionally go to work every day and try to be someone people like to work with.”
References: Allure, Who What Wear, MiniMaven.com, Vogue India, W Magazine, Elle UK, Elle Magazine, DailyMailTV, Vogue UK, Teen Vogue, Glamour, Vanity Fair, Vogue.