Bella Hadid has never shied away from speaking her mind: from getting real about breakups to her anxieties over her career to her battle with Lyme disease. And now she’s opening up about a topic not often discussed by supermodels: her religion.
“My dad was a refugee when he first came to America, so it’s actually very close to home for my sister and brother and me,” she said, referring to President Donald Trump’s travel ban on Muslims from several countries.
Bella’s father, Mohamed Hadid, a real estate mogul, was born in Israel and lived in Syria and then Lebanon, before immigrating to the U.S. at the age of 14, Page Six reports. (Syria is included on the list of nations banned by Trump’s executive order.)
The supermodel also explained how her father’s heritage factored into her upbringing.
“He was always religious, and he always prayed with us,” she said, adding, “I am proud to be a Muslim.”
Bella (nor her siblings Gigi and Anwar) hasn’t publicly confirmed her religion until now. But Bella, Gigi and their mother Yolanda Foster were spotted at a New York City protest condemning the travel ban. They carried a poster reading, “We are all Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Atheists, Christians, Jews.”
Following the march, Bella spoke with Elle about her experience at the protest and highlighted her “diverse background.” (Her mother is from the Netherlands.)
“I’ve had incredible experiences all over the world … and I’ve learned that we’re all just people, and we all deserve respect and kindness. We shouldn’t treat people as if they don’t deserve kindness just because of their ethnicities. It’s just not right. And that message—to be compassionate whenever possible—that’s so important to me.”
Last month, Gigi Hadid sparked a conversation around her family’s roots, appearing on the cover of the first-ever Vogue Arabia and wearing a hijab in inside images. And, in 2015, she posted an image of her hands covered in mehndi, captioning it “Half Palestinian & proud of it.” (Gigi’s boyfriend, Zayn Malik, is also Muslim.)
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