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Exclusive: Gigi Hadid On Her 'Model-Off-Duty' Formula

Photo: David Becker/Getty Images.
Today in news that isn't news: Gigi Hadid is everywhere. Aside from being a constant subject of conversation, she's making strides (literally and figuratively) in her career. She's walking every runway from couture to ready-to-wear to Victoria's Secret, fronting campaigns for Stuart Weitzman and Versace, and regularly scoring front covers. Oh, and she just turned 21.

In tandem with these high-fashion accolades, however, Hadid has been just as busy on the non-fashion front. First, she starred in a car advert. Throughout the summer, you'll find her alongside a baby-fied version of herself on billboards as part of Evian's new Live Young ads. We sat down with Hadid yesterday to discuss her new campaign, her shopping habits (including her unfiltered thoughts on changing rooms), chokers, athleisure (she's a huge fan), and the deal with "model-off-duty" style — plus, sage advice she received from her go-to industry mentor.
Photo: Courtesy of Evian.

Let's talk about your spectacular record on the red carpet. How do you work with your stylist, Monica Rose?
"We’re really collaborative. I think that’s why we get along so well. She’ll pick things and beg me to put them on. Sometimes, they’re amazing! That’s why you need a stylist when you’re in fashion — people ask [me] why I have a stylist; it’s because you need someone to push you in that way. Sometimes, she pushes me and it works. Sometimes, she pushes me and we just have a really good laugh about it. We make mood boards together over text. I send ideas through or she’ll show me the outfits that she’ll have in mind. She’s picked the pieces and I’ll start mixing them all together. It’s a really fun thing for us."

Has Monica introduced you to any trends that you were skeptical about initially?
"She probably turned me on to chokers a while ago. She put me in a choker before it was a thing, so go Monica Rose!"

We're very curious about your shopping tricks. Are there any items you tend to stockpile?
"Honestly, I’m not a big shopper. I guess it’s because it’s my job to try things on. I love window shopping and I love shopping without having to go to the dressing room or take what I’m wearing off. That’s why I love glasses and bags. I buy a lot of [those], because I don’t try them on. Like, Topshop [dressing room] lines are not even funny. I’d much rather go into Topshop [and buy something], go home, try it on, and then return it than stand in line for three hours."

People (us included) talk a lot about “model-off-duty” style. What does the term mean to you?
"I put a lot more effort into my outfits during Fashion Week, because that’s a time to celebrate fashion. But model off duty in New York [for me], on a normal day, is "Gigi going to the gym," "Gigi going to the grocery store" — that’s why you always see me in yoga pants. I try to make it cool; I'll put a cool shirt with a cool jacket. Thank God that athleisure is in right now, because I’m good at it. It’s easy for me and I’m an athlete. It makes my 'going to the gym' turn into my 'might have to go to a meeting after' a very smooth transition."

You also have a line with Tommy Hilfiger coming out. What's it been like to step into a design role?
"I have so much respect for the artists and the designers that I work with on a daily basis. Going into this, I’m not trying to be known as this big designer. I just wanted to make clothes that I want to wear, that I think the people that follow me want to wear, and that Tommy fans want to wear. That was my role in it. I grew up doing art and I love drawing and painting. This was a way to take my love for fashion, my love for art, and my love for Tommy as a brand [and make it] into something. It made a lot of sense and I’m really excited for people to wear it."

A lot of people look to you for style inspiration. Where do you seek inspiration?
"Living in New York is great inspiration; everyone here is very real in the way they dress. Even though we have great style in New York, everyone still thinks about having to walk down the street and having to go from work straight to drinks — it just makes more sense. That’s what I’ve always connected with, even when I didn’t live in New York. I didn’t want to be uncomfortable in what I was wearing. I always want to be comfortable and still look good."

How did this Evian campaign come about?
"You always hope that fun things like this come along. I was just such a big fan of the Evian campaigns — and the baby campaigns in particular — before I was a part of them. When my agent came to me and started to explain, I was like, 'I already know, I already love it.' I grew up a really competitive athlete and my mom always instilled the importance of being hydrated and always had Evian in the house. It was a natural fit to combine something that is easy for me to talk about with a campaign that I really wanted to be a part of. The two made a lot of sense."

You’ve been involved in a couple of non-fashion campaigns lately. How are these important to your career as a model?
"I came into modelling thinking that I’d only do commercial. My management and my mentors, like Carine Roitfeld, have been so important in me finding my confidence in stepping into the high-fashion world. They were really the ones that believed in me and told me, 'We can make your path in high fashion,' even though I have a butt and I have boobs. So, I focused on high fashion for a long time. The more commercial stuff is fun — it’s the stuff that’s exciting. It’s like the field trips from your regular day, so that’s why I choose them.

"In terms of this campaign, Live Young, and the essence of having a young energy — Carine Roitfeld is one of those people. When you’re with her, you feel like it’s still her second day on set. She just loves what she does and she’s so excited to be there. She’s one of those people who radiates youth."

That’s a good way to think about it. What’s the best piece of advice Carine has ever given you?
"I think I was going through a breakup or something; I was having a bad day, but I never show it on set. During a lunch break, I pulled her aside and on a non-professional and more personal level, I had a talk with her. And she said, 'As long as you can come to work and it makes you happy enough to forget about those things, you’re doing the right thing. You should never come and do something that doesn’t inspire you enough to forget about those things.'

"So, I think to appreciate the art that we do when we’re on set. To some people, it’s not art — but when I am on set and am around people that inspire me so much, it feels like art in the way that we all communicate, work together, and make the images that we want to make."