Bella Hadid has revealed in a new interview that she underwent cosmetic surgery at 14, while expressing regret that she erased her ancestral features to undergo a nose job at the young age.
Speaking with Vogue, Bella, who is of Palestinian descent on her father’s side, also spoke in detail about her battle with depression and eating disorders that has seen her struggle in private even as she took the spotlight at some of the biggest runway shows across the world.
“I wish I had kept the nose of my ancestors,” she told Vogue US, referring to her dad, real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid’s Palestinian heritage, while adding: “I think I would have grown into it.” The interviewer noted that Bella was 14 when she had the surgery and that it’s a “decision she regrets.”
However, Bella, 25, denied the stories circulating that had gotten her jaw shaved, her eyes lifted, and her lips filled.
“People think I fully [expletive] with my face because of one picture of me as a teenager looking puffy. I’m pretty sure you don’t look the same now as you did at 13, right? I have never used filler. Let’s just put an end to that. I have no issue with it, but it’s not for me. Whoever thinks I’ve gotten my eyes lifted or whatever it’s called — it’s face tape! The oldest trick in the book. I’ve had this impostor syndrome where people made me feel like I didn’t deserve any of this. People always have something to say, but what I have to say is, I’ve always been misunderstood in my industry and by the people around me.”
The American model also spoke about the health issues she has faced over the years, including her battle with Lyme disease, anorexia and depression. However, things escalated in January of 2021, with the interviewer stating Bella found herself waking up in suicidal despair for weeks, worsened by professional pressures.
“My immediate trauma response is people-pleasing,” Bella explained. “It literally makes me sick to my stomach if I leave somewhere and someone is unhappy with me, so I always go above and beyond, but the issue with that is that I get home and I don’t have enough for myself. I became manic. I bleached my hair. I looked like a troll doll. Then I dyed it — it looked like a sunrise. That should have been the first sign.”
Bella entered a treatment programme in Tennessee soon after for 2.5 weeks where she underwent talk therapy, psychiatry and was placed on antidepressants. Therapy, she said in the interview, was the biggest gift she has ever given herself. “For so long, I didn’t know what I was crying about. I always felt so lucky, and that would get me even more down on myself. There were people online saying, You live this amazing life. So then how can I complain? I always felt that I didn’t have the right to complain, which meant that I didn’t have the right to get help, which was my first problem.”
Bella’s health issues date back to her childhood, when she started to have a mix of physical and psychiatric symptoms, including brain fog, anxiety, exhaustion, poor focus, headaches, bone pain, and crying spells — some of which may have emanated from Lyme disease, from which her mother and brother also suffer. She has also been diagnosed with babesiosis, a tick-borne parasitic infection of red blood cells that sometimes co-occurs with Lyme.
When Bella was in high school, a psychiatrist prescribed extended-release Adderall for her inattention, thinking it might be ADHD. She says that the appetite-suppressant effect of stimulant medication pushed her into anorexia. “I was on this calorie-counting app, which was like the devil to me,” she revealed. “I’d pack my little lunch with my three raspberries, my celery stick. I was just trying, I realise now, to feel in control of myself when I felt so out of control of everything else.”
Comparisons with Gigi
In the same interview, Bella also addressed her comparisons to her sister, supermodel Gigi Hadid, who is often referred to as the more glamourous of the two in the press. Even their mother, former model and reality star Yolanda Hadid, has compared her two daughters on her show ‘The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills’, calling Gigi her white swan or the all-American girl, while labelling Bella her black swan.
“I was the uglier sister. I was the brunette. I wasn’t as cool as Gigi, not as outgoing,” Bella told Vogue US. “That’s really what people said about me. And unfortunately when you get told things so many times, you do just believe it. I always ask myself, how did a girl with incredible insecurities, anxiety, depression, body-image issues, eating issues, who hates to be touched, who has intense social anxiety — what was I doing getting into this business? But over the years I became a good actress. I put on a very smiley face, or a very strong face. I always felt like I had something to prove. People can say anything about how I look, about how I talk, about how I act. But in seven years I never missed a job, canceled a job, was late to a job.”
Bella’s interview has garnered widespread sympathy from concerned fans, who noted that she’d felt pressured to conform to “Eurocentric beauty standards” at such a young age, many blaming Yolanda for fuelling this further and pushing her daughters at an early age to be so image conscious.