Bella Hadid gets our Clapback Queen superlative in our first-ever #MGTop8. The #MGTop8 highlights fearless changemakers that are making an impact on elevating Muslim women’s voices. To view the rest of our #MGTop8, click here.
From a recent wave of Palestine protest photos spreading across the internet, one rose to visible prominence. It was that of a protester marching in London, donning an exquisite floor-length gown, cream coat and fur stole, surrounded by posters emblazoned with the Palestinian flag, with her raised fist as her most prominent accessory.
In December, Donald Trump announced his plans to move the U.S. Embassy to Israel from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, thereby declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. People all around the world poured into the streets to decry the political move, if not from a humanitarian standpoint, then from an economic, religious, or historic standpoint.
They would include accomplished Palestinian-Dutch-American model, Bella Hadid.
Bella started her fashion career with IMG models in 2014, two years after her older sister, Gigi Hadid, started her own successful career. While at first referred to as “Gigi Hadid’s sister,” Bella has ingrained her own name and style into the fashion world with every captivating runway show and standout campaign. Tom Ford, Miu Miu, Chanel, and Balmain are just some of the high-profile houses she’s represented. Her face has been plastered over billboards internationally as the face of Dior fragrances and cosmetics. She’s been on more Vogue covers than we can count. Needless to say, Bella Hadid is already an icon in her own lane.
Last spring, Bella made headlines when she openly told Porter magazine that she was “proud to be a Muslim.” She also spoke of her half-Arab, half-European ethnicity as the daughter of Dutch model Yolanda Hadid and Palestinian real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid.
Her father, Mohamed Hadid, who fled Palestine to Syria as an infant during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, also posted about Trump’s decision on Jerusalem, calling it the saddest day of his life. His Instagram feed can be described as a love letter to his homeland, wherein he shares throwbacks and current pictures of Palestine, captioning them with endearing stories of his childhood.
The next day, Bella Hadid posted her own emotional ode to Palestine in light of the international political turmoil. Her words echoed her father’s sentiments of sadness and heartache.
Bella has been a passionate voice against injustice even before her attendance at the protest. She’s not afraid to openly express her feelings on controversial issues, like this past November, when she took to Instagram to denounce the Libyan slave auction — an atrocity most others pushed under the rug. She also protested the first iteration of Trump’s Muslim Ban.
So, can fashion be political? Are celebrities obligated to use their platforms for good? These questions meet at a crossroads when fashion models like Bella Hadid use their public platforms to elevate their political beliefs.
Historically, fashion models were hired to be seen, not heard. They were made to be presented only as the most perfect versions of themselves, rough edges blurred and wrinkles smoothed. Today, with Instagram and Snapchat, models share pretty much all parts of their lives — from bedhead selfies to sweaty workout pics — in ways we have never have seen of their supermodel predecessors.
They also haven’t been known to be very vocal on sociopolitical issues; it was historically pretty much unheard of for a model to promote anything but a product. Today, models like Bella can share anything and everything with their thousands, sometimes millions, of followers.
Hence, the Clapback Queen.
Bella is fast becoming her own brand. This platform is power, and the day those protest pictures went viral, thousands felt that Bella Hadid used her public privilege with integrity. Casually attending the protest after a Tag Heuer fashion event, the half-Palestinian supermodel turned civic duty into a seriously iconic high-profile task.
By using her platform to vocally support or denounce by way of lengthy Instagram captions, she is able to make her followers — all 16.9 million of them — aware of issues they otherwise wouldn’t know or care about. It’s lending a voice to those we don’t get to hear. And by attending protests and donating to charities, she goes beyond being merely an Instagram activist.
Isabella Khair Hadid makes our #MGTop8 for not only calling out hate and bigotry when she sees it, but standing on the frontlines to vocally denounce it. True to her middle name (khair means “good” in Arabic), she uses her platform for good by advocating for those who cannot advocate for themselves.
Power to you, Bella! ✊🏽