18 Things You Don't Know About The Rise Of Gigi Hadid

Photo: David Livingston/Getty Images and Photo: Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic/ Getty Images.
Gigi Hadid is everywhere.

If you haven't seen her name in headlines about her modeling; her family life as seen on Real Housewives of Beverly Hills; or her current boyfriend, former One Directoner Zayn Malik; you have, at least, flipped past her face in a magazine or two. Between her fierce look and her down-to-earth (if slightly overexposed) personality, she seems weirdly approachable for an international supermodel and current It Girl.
But who is Gigi Hadid? Well, to start, Miss Hadid is turning 21 on April 23. A California native, she first started modeling at the ripe young age of 2 years old, but she stopped after her famous mother, Yolanda Hadid, started worrying that she wouldn't have a normal childhood. She reemerged at age 17 and has been running the scene ever since.

With over 16 million Instagram followers, she isn't going anywhere anytime soon. Plus, she's successfully infiltrated baking shows, music videos, and even designed her own fashion line in collaboration with Tommy Hilfiger. But how did she get here?

Like all successes, it didn't happen overnight. So, let's go through her origin story as we reveal the 18 things you did not know about the rise of Gigi Hadid.
1 of 18
Gigi Isn't Her Real Name
It's actually Jelena Noura Hadid. Gigi was a nickname her mother used sparingly, until another a girl in Hadid's elementary school class was named Helena and the two were confusing their names. Thus, Gigi stuck.
2 of 18
Her Mother Was A Model
Yolanda Hadid, 52, started as a model in the Netherlands. She modeled nonstop for 15 years before marrying Mohammed Hadid and starting a family. She now stars on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
3 of 18
via Instagram.
She Was Discovered At Age 2
Gigi modeled for Baby Guess after a family friend, designer Paul Marciano, urged her mother to get her in front of a lens. "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 told Vanity Fair. "I kind of stopped modeling."
4 of 18
via Instagram.
She's A Huge Lakers Fan
In addition to boxing, horses, and volleyball, Gigi is a big Lakers fan and she has been her whole life, it seems.
5 of 18
She Loves Horseback Riding
In an interview on Mini Maven, Gigi talks about her love of horses and her desire to one day live in the country. "I hope to one day be successful enough that I can buy a ranch or beach house somewhere and get back to my roots," she said.
6 of 18
via YouTube.
She Starred In A Short Film
In 2011, she was cast a Andrea for the short film Virgin Eyes. The film was an American Film Institute conservatory thesis film.
7 of 18
via Instagram.
Her Father Once Beat Donald Trump At His Own Game
Her father is a successful real estate mogul, Mohammed Hadid. He even once outbid Donald Trump for a hotel in Aspen, CO. He no doubt taught her a thing or two about work ethic and negotiation.
8 of 18
via Instagram.
Her Little Sis Is As Chic As She Is
Gigi's younger sister, Bella Hadid, 19, is quickly becoming just as famous as she is. They're like yin and yang with their complementary looks. The two have walked in numerous runway shows together, including Rihanna's Fenty premiere show, pictured here, and even in Chanel's Paris Fashion Week show. They also have both been in their boyfriend's music videos.
9 of 18
Photo Credit: Albert L. Ortega / Contributor.
Her Baby Bro Is Also Following In Her Footsteps
Anwar Hadid is only 16, but already cooler than we ever were at that age.
10 of 18
Photos: Bruce Weber via CR Fashion Book.
She Credits A French Editor For Her Big Break
In multiple interviews, Gigi has praised Carine Roitfeld and thanked her for featuring her on the cover of CR Fashion Book back in spring of 2014. “When Stephen Gan introduced her to me, we jointly send her to see Bruce Weber, we knew she was a star about to be born,” Roitfeld told The Daily Front Row.
11 of 18
via Instagram.
She Won Model Of The Year In 2015
In January of 2015, Daily Front Row awarded Gigi with the title over friend Kendall Jenner, proving that people have been anticipating her rule of the fashion world for over a year now.
12 of 18
via Instagram.
She Mixes High & Low Campaigns
She is a Maybelline cover girl, Tommy girl for Tommy Hilfiger, lands covers of various editions of Vogue, and is the face of Versace.
13 of 18
via Instagram.
She Is Really Into Baking
She has said before how much she loves eating pizza and burgers, but what she really loves to do is bake.
14 of 18
via Instagram.
She Is Really Good At Boxing
She goes to a boxing club in Manhattan, Gotham NYC, and counts her trainer as one of her closest friends in the city.
15 of 18
via YouTube.
She Is Sort Of Related To Kendall Jenner
We will let her explain.
16 of 18
Photo Credit: Team GT / Contributor.
She Studies Forensic Psychology
When Gigi first moved to New York City, it was to pursue not only a career in modeling, but also a college degree. Her major of choice? Forensic psychology. She completed a year of undergrad, but is now, as is apparent, modeling full time.
17 of 18
Photo Credit: Kevin Kane / Contributor.
Victoria's Secret Rejected Her — Twice
Before she finally got to walk the famed runway in 2015, Gigi auditioned to be an Angel twice and was rejected both times. She told Vogue that after one rejection, she was too nervous and not yet confident enough in herself to ace the audition.
18 of 18
She's Been In 6 Music Videos
Two for ex-boyfriend Cody Simpson, one for bestie Taylor Swift's boyfriend Calvin Harris, one for Swift herself, one for ex-boyfriend Joe Jonas, one for current BF Zayn Malik, and one for the sultry singer Miguel. It's clear she loves all genres of music.

More from Pop Culture


R29 Original Series