Gigi Hadid has been notoriously private since welcoming her first child, daughter Khai, in September.
The supermodel has largely kept her daughter with pop star boyfriend Zayn Malik out of the spotlight, sharing only snippets of life as a new mum, and never showing the face of her baby, aged 10 months, on Instagram.
As Hadid, who is part Palestinian, starts to get out and about in New York City, where she spends much of her time, she has requested that paparazzi respect that privacy she has been trying to create for her daughter.
In an open letter posted to the star’s Instagram account, she wrote: “As our baby grows up we have to realise that we can’t protect her from everything the way we wanted to and could when she was smaller.”
She goes on to say that at the family’s Pennsylvania farm, where Hadid spent lockdown while pregnant last year, and baby Khai spent many of her first few months, the youngster was in her stroller without a protective covering.
“She doesn't understand why she's covered in the city, or what I've wanted to protect her from,” she continued. “I also want her to see the most amazing city in the world and the beautiful and diverse people that walk down the streets of NYC ... that is, without the stress of the media circus that comes with parents who are public figures.”
Hadid said that, while she understands laws around privacy change from state to state, she knows some paparazzi will blur children’s faces in pictures regardless of the law, as a mark of respect for the family.
“To the paparazzi, press and beloved fan accounts, you know we have never intentionally shared our daughter's face on social media,” she said. “Our wish is that she can choose to share herself with the world when she comes of age, and that she can live as normal of a childhood as possible, without worrying about a public image that she has not chosen.
“It would mean the world to us, as we take our daughter to see and explore NYC and the world, if you would please, please, please blur her face out of the images, if and when she is caught on camera. I know it's an extra effort – but as a new mom, I just want the best for my baby, as all parents do ... and I hope this can continue the conversation to protect minors in the media, even if they come from a public family.”
The letter, which was posted to her Instagram Stories and Twitter account, has received an outpouring of support from fans, with many saying they respect and support her wishes.
Hadid welcomed baby Khai in September, four months after she was forced to confirm her pregnancy when the news was leaked to the media.
In a virtual appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon in April 2020, Hadid said: “Obviously we wished we could have announced it on our own terms, but we’re very excited and happy and grateful for everyone’s well wishes.”
It took Hadid another four months to reveal her daughter’s name, which is a nod to Hadid's Arab heritage, reportedly a tribute to her Palestinian grandmother, Khairiah, the mother of real-estate developer Mohamed Hadid.
The name also has Arabic links, with Khai translated to mean "crowned" or "royalty" in English. The full name Khairiah, meanwhile, means "good" and "charitable".
Both Hadid and Malik have had their daughter's name tattooed on them in Arabic after her birth.
Hadid has only occasionally shared snippets of Khai on Instagram, including a touching Mother’s Day post.
“The rumours are true: my best friend, purpose, muse, greatest pride and joy,” she wrote. “I feel so lucky and inspired being your mama, my Khai! An old soul full of sunshine, you light up everyone’s days! Thank you, thank you, thank you.”