Bella Hadid on Racism in Fashion: 'I Hate That Some of My Black Friends Feel the Way They Do'

Bella Hadid on Racism in Fashion: 'I Hate That Some of My Black Friends Feel the Way They Do'

Bella Hadid is Elle’s August cover star, a story photographed by sister Gigi Hadid at their family’s ranch in Pennsylvania that captured Bella with a rare smile. The Q&A that follows is brief and diplomatic, especially when Hadid is asked about the Black Lives Matter movement and systematic issues within the fashion industry.

“I have so much responsibility to use my platform for good, especially as I get older,” she told the magazine. “I want young girls and boys to know that it is okay to use your voice and demand justice for what is important to you. I want them to know it’s okay to be empathetic and gentle, but to be strong and speak your truth at the same time.”

When asked about fashion specifically, she gave a handful of examples of the ways black models are discriminated against—even when they’re front row institutions—and areas that need to be overhauled:

ELLE: This moment is forcing us to take a hard look at the industries we work in, and fashion has been under particular scrutiny. Where do you think the fashion industry needs to change in terms of diversity and inclusion?
BELLA HADID: Going into the next season, my fear is having to see another one of my Black girlfriends get her hair burned by a hair straightener, or do her own makeup because the makeup artist hasn’t been trained to work with all different skin types. I hate that some of my Black friends feel the way they do. Even if they’re sitting front row, they’re not feeling accepted. Our industry is supposed to be about expression and individuality, but the reality is that [many people] still discriminate because of exactly [those differences].

The same ideas extend to Hollywood—where many photographers still haven’t learned how to actually light black actors—or any industry, really. At least the supermodels of the world are feeling brave enough to push back.

Read the full interview here.

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