Bella Hadid Explains Why She Marched Against Donald Trump’s Travel Ban

“You have to have a personality… and not be a blank face.”

Bella Hadid seen leaving her hotel in Paris
Mehdi Taamallah/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Earlier this year, Bella Hadid and her sister Gigi took to the streets of New York City to walk in the #NoBanNoWall march, which protested Donald Trump’s eventually failed travel ban against seven Muslim majority countries as well as an executive order which attempted to mobilize his Mexican border wall. Eight months later, Bella Hadid has explained and solidified her political stance in a new cover story with Harper’s Bazaar.

For Bella, Donald Trump’s travel ban was a personal issue, as both her parents came to the United States in search of better lives; her mother Yolanda is originally from the Netherlands and her father Mohammed is originally from Jordan. “My dad was a refugee,” she tells Bazaar. “He came from Palestine to America when he was a baby,” she explains of her father, who is an architect renowned for lavish multimillion dollar developments in Los Angeles. “Thankfully, he was able to come, but it was very hard and now it’s probably 100 times harder. It makes me sad that power is getting taken from a lot of people and they’re not able to make a new life for their children and their families. It’s crazy to me that one person can tell you whether or not you can have a better life.”

As for why she marched, Bella says, “I just wanted to stand up for what I felt was right and I really didn’t care if I was with 100,000 other people because, with or without security, I wanted to go and stand for something I believe in. Nobody was even looking.”

When you have a platform like hers — with a reach of nearly 15 million on Instagram alone — you have to take a stance, so she says. “If I can’t talk about something that I’m passionate about, why even be here? Why even do any of the stuff that I’m doing if I can’t make a better purpose for the world, or make a difference, or try to put light on a situation that is obviously so dark? It’s all really scary… What’s so beautiful about the time that we live in right now is that it’s not all about the face any more. You have to be more than that. You have to have a personality and you have to be able to go out there and have a conversation with somebody and not be a blank face.”

Standing up for the greater good is something Bella says she learned from her mother. “Since I was a kid I’ve loved helping people,” she says. “My mom always said that I would go on the street and hug somebody that was sitting on the corner. It was just because I genuinely loved people, and that’s something that I want to bring forward with me in my career. If I’m able to change something in the world for the better, then I’ll be ecstatic.”

Watch: Kendall Jenner, Bella Hadid, Sienna Miller, and More Speak Out on Behalf of Immigrants