Why Bella Hadid Felt Like She Had to Respond to a Bully on Instagram

“You don’t know me.”

Photographs by Venetia Scott, Styled by Edward Enninful

As an active Instagram user in 2018 — and with more than 17 million followers looking at everything she posts — Bella Hadid undoubtedly receives more than her fair share of unnecessarily rude and judgmental comments from cyberbullies and trolls. While she typically ignores these critics, earlier this month, Hadid replied to a commenter who made a mean remark about both her and Kendall Jenner. In an interview with People at Coachella last weekend, the supermodel explained why she couldn’t let this particular comment go unchecked.

“I usually never respond to anybody and I think that night I just really had had it,” Hadid explained. “At the end of the day, I don’t want to be mean, and I don’t want to ‘clap back.’ We’re all just human beings and it wasn’t even about what they said about our faces, it was just that — don’t attack my personality because you don’t know me. That’s what deeply hurts me.” She added that she also felt the need to defend her friend from the bully, too. “They don’t know Kendall, either, and people have their different perceptions of her, too. But she’s such an amazing girl and so kind and so sweet and really generous from her heart, and people really don’t know that about her,” Hadid said. “I think that at that point I was just like, ‘I’m done.'”

The comment in question was left on a fan account’s photo of Hadid and Jenner. It started by calling the girls “fake” and speculating about any plastic surgery they’ve undergone, then ended with, “money can get you a new face but not a nicer personality which these two girls need.” As Instagram account Comments By Celebs documented, Hadid responded. “I wish you would know either of our personalities. And not only that, I wish you would only grasp a heart of your own. Blessings to you sweetheart. Jealousy is a cry for help that I wish I could help you with,” the 21-year-old wrote.

In her interview with People, Hadidalso shared that she’s learned over the years to use social media on her own terms, and not let rude commenters ruin her day. “I used to be a really big over-sharer. I learned that protecting myself and my heart is more important to me right now. I feel like at this point you sometimes start to believe the things that people say to you, whether it’s good or bad, but I like to share things that mean a lot to me,” she explained. “I think to be able to conserve my own self, I need to be able to take a step back and keep my center and keep my privacy.”

Related: Gigi Hadid and Blake Lively Discuss Social Media Trolls and the Dangers of Retouched Images