From a few feet away, I heard Gigi Hadid say the words, “My boyfriend...” Immediately, I exchanged shocked glances with another reporter nearby. “Did she just say that?” our eyes, slightly bulging, shot at each other.
It was a characteristically cool June Friday in Los Angeles and Maybelline was throwing a party at the über-trendy Line Hotel in Koreatown to launch a new summer collection, with Hadid as its host. Going in, we had anticipated that Zayn and the couple's reported breakup would be the one subject to be off limits, much less that she would bring up the topic herself.
The theme of the night might have been New York—little Reuben sandwiches were passed around, as was a drink called “Empire State of Mind"—but it was clear that this was Hadid’s night, and Hadid is pure L.A. “She doesn’t have to be the center of attention,” gushed makeup artist Erin Parsons, though, clearly, Hadid was. It wasn't much of a challenge in this crowd, stocked as it was with the likes of the Khadra sisters, Alli Simpson, Christina Milian and Greer Grammer. "She’s so real and so who she is.”
“New York is my work environment," Hadid said. "So L.A. is just where I come to be myself and just not do anything — sit on my mom’s couch, my boyfriend cooks for me...” There’s that b-word again. It might have been in my head, but it felt like the small team of people that formed a protective semi-circle around her kept holding their breath every time she said it.
Hadid's charisma, in part, stems from the chillaxed countenance she presents, a natural Malibu-native serenity that also goes for her attitude about makeup. She is a firm believer in the school of less is more.
"I always have my nude lipstick with me,” she said. When she isn't boxing, playing volleyball, or horseback riding, her uniform for this upcoming broiler of a summer season will be, like her make-up routine and day-to-day life while back in town, accordingly simple and chic. “Yoga pants, a t-shirt, and Adidas,” she said, although it’s hard to imagine her in this attire now, as she was sporting a navy blue mini-dress and futuristic stilettos that made my toes and heels ache.
Shortly before I left, I heard Zayn's “Pillowtalk,” spill out of the speakers as twilight finally seized the venue. I wondered if Hadid requested this song herself, as a little “fuck you” to everyone who has made her personal life their business, but I decide she wouldn't have cared that much.
Watch Gigi Hadid train for the runway here: