Gigi Hadid has spoken out against those that question if she is “Arab enough”, saying: “I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch.”
Hadid was speaking in Sydney, Australia, at an event to launch a new initiative by Reebok, #BeMoreHuman, which celebrates female empowerment, as well as give the world first glimpse at her new activewear range for the sports brand. Other high-profile women lending their voice to the #BeMoreHuman initiative are Gal Gadot, Nathalie Emmanuel of Game of Thrones fame, and Wakandan warrior Danai Gurira.
Hadid used to occasion to talk about the pressure she feels to be perfect, admitting that she is competitive with herself but makes mistakes just like anyone else. She also acknowledged the backlash that she received when she appeared on the first ever cover of Vogue Arabia, where she famously donned a jewel-encrusted hijab.
"I hope that this magazine will show another layer of the fashion industry's desire to continue to accept, celebrate, and incorporate all people & customs and make everyone feel like they have fashion images and moments they can relate to," Hadid wrote when she posted the March 2017 cover on Instagram.
At the time, there were accusations of cultural appropriation and criticism of the hijab being presented as art, while Hadid herself was accused of only highlighting her Palestinian roots when it was convenient.
“When I shot the cover of Vogue Arabia, I wasn’t ‘Arab enough’ to be representing those girls, even though I’m half-Palestinian,” she said in Sydney. “I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch. Just because I have blonde hair, I still carry the value of my ancestors and I appreciate and respect that.”