A few years ago, Hailey Bieber posted a photo of herself walking a 2018 Zadig & Voltaire show with a circle drawn around her forearm. “What I do know is that ur arm truly should never wing this high when ur walking on a runway,” she captioned the shot, drawing a huge circle and question mark around her bent elbow. “Hence why it is not, and will never be my thing again lol.” It may have sounded like a joke, but Bieber stayed true to her word: She hasn’t stepped foot on a catwalk since. And in a new interview with Allure, the 25-year-old model and budding skincare guru confirmed that she was fully serious about calling it quits.
“I had a really bad experience with a casting director who was very important,” Bieber recalled, neglecting to name the individual. “He said something to my agent that just shook my confidence when it came to the runway. I don’t want to feel bad about myself in this space because I feel really good about the other work that I do. So why would I even put myself in a position to feel small?”
Before the aforementioned incident, the catwalk was a source of confidence for Bieber: She got a sense of accomplishment from making it as a successful runway model despite being 5’7” (the same small-for-the-industry stature of Kate Moss). In the four years that followed her debut at Topshop Unique in 2014, Bieber most frequently walked Tommy Hilfiger, but there were plenty of other shows in the mix: She could be found in the casts of Off-White, Bottega Veneta, Matty Bovan, Prabal Gurung, and Jeremy Scott before saying goodbye to the runway with Versace in December of 2018.
Eschewing the runway doesn’t seem to have had any harm on Bieber’s overall modeling career. She kicked off 2022 by landing five major campaigns—Versace, Victoria’s Secret, Jimmy Choo, Boss, and Miu Miu—within a single month, and Allure is just one of several magazine covers she’s so far landed this year. It’s possible some sort of runway may be in her future after all: Last year, Jeremy Scott coaxed her into opening his fall 2021 video presentation for Moschino, which took the meta form of a show within a show.