After years spent cultivating a Victoria Beckham—esque reputation for rarely, if ever, cracking a smile, Bella Hadid is finally ready to show off her pearly whites. While promoting her new Magnum Ice Cream campaign with Alexander Wang at the Cannes Film Festival, Hadid spoke to InStyle about what was holding her back from smiling in public in the past, and why she’s no longer covering up. The central issues at play, she said, were a crippling self-consciousness and her even more crippling Lyme disease. “I just wasn’t really feeling well and I didn’t like my smile,” Hadid admitted.
“I was always really self-conscious of myself and I didn’t like my smile. I thought I had a crooked smile my whole life,” she said. “When I started modeling, it was such an intense force that I guess I just didn’t smile and I didn’t want to, and then it became a thing that I didn’t smile.” And as she spent years battling Lyme, which majorly depleted her energy, she had even less to smile about. “I got really sick for a few years, so I kind of lost myself in that,” Hadid said.
Now, however, the 21-year-old is feeling better than ever—and it shows. “Now, I smile so much more, because I’m so much more in my power and finally centered,” she told InStyle. “I’m such a people person, and I kind of lost that when I wasn’t feeling well, so now that I’m back working all the time, getting to do press like this is really fun. I love interacting with people. I’m figuring myself out along the way.”
Among the things Hadid has figured out so far is a return to the hobbies she used to think weren’t “cool.” “I loved knitting my whole life and I kind of dropped it off, and then recently I was like, ‘Wait.’ Now I’m like, ‘I really don’t care if anybody thinks it’s cool or not, because I enjoy it,'” she said. “So I hope girls know that if people around you don’t think it’s cool, it really doesn’t matter, because you’re cool and you’re you, and that’s the best you can be.”
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