Why Won't Gigi Hadid Become the Role Model We Know She Could Be?

gigi hadid red carpet
credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Rihanna's Savage X Fenty Show Vol. 3 Presented by Amazon Prime Video

Gigi Hadid has rarely shied away from the spotlight. She’s truly embraced her supermodel status over the years. But the one thing she hasn’t seemed to accept? Her potential as a role model for Muslim American girls.

On The Today Show this morning, Gigi was asked what her huge platform means to her, and if she has the desire to use it to speak out about prevalent (ahem, political) issues.

Gigi kind of skirted around this question and said,

“I think it’s easiest to speak out when it comes from a place that’s genuine, and that’s something that changes for me through my life: what’s important to me.”

Her answer came across as wishy-washy and really made me wish she was firmer in her opinions and shared them with her followers.

Her interview continued on and she spoke about her collaboration with Reebok on the Perfect Never campaign, which aims to counter the idea that models are flawless and to discourage girls from comparing themselves to seemingly perfect celebrities.

It’s a great campaign for Gigi’s audience, but I wish she was putting this energy into an issue that would almost create a shock value for her fanbase, one that would really start a critical conversation, i.e. Islamaphobia.

Gigi has 36 million Instagram followers. Her platform as a supermodel, businesswoman, and as the face of Maybelline is huge. Despite Gigi being of Muslim and Palestinian descent (on her father’s side), her fanbase is a good portion white girls. Her voice against this administration and the growing Islamophobia in our country would be so, so valuable.

It’s not as if she’s ignored the topic completely. Back in January, Gigi and her sister Bella marched at the #NoBanNoWall protest in NYC.

And after the New York terror attack earlier this month, she replied to a racist and disgusting tweet that condemned Muslim women for wearing Hijabs after the truck attack that killed eight people.

We’ve gotten glimpses into Gigi’s passion for defending her heritage and speaking out against Islamophobia, but I can’t help but want more. In fact, I think we need more. Especially from a supermodel so ingrained in the mainstream group of celebs. (See: Kendall and Kylie Jenner, Taylor Swift, Selena Gomez, etc.)

To have Gigi, an adored Instagram star and Victoria’s Secret queen, post about Islamophobia or use her platform to counter online racism, and maybe even share her personal stories about Islamophobia, could prove to those who are ignorant that it’s real and it’s damaging. It would be so effective for her fanbase.

I don’t mean to generalize or attack Gigi’s fans; it’s just that her reach is so large and it’s important for these upcoming or current voters to be exposed to real accounts of Islamophobia. The resistance by the beautiful model they see every day in their Instagram feeds could be a game-changer.

Demanding activism from celebrities is a heavily disputed subject, but we’ve seen the general opinion become clearer and clearer over the past yearr with our increasing need for public resistance.

(It would also be great if she had an open convo with Kendall on racism, too.)

‘Hadid’ is a name that sparks Islamophobia. Gigi is massive; she’s a part of one of the most adored celebrity couples right now, she collaborates with giant corporations, she was just named Glamour‘s Woman of the Year. Tie her platform and her heritage together, and you could have someone with a voice against Islamophobia that would be loud enough to reach corners of the world where ignorance might be the hardest to penetrate. If only she could learn to use it.

Anne Catherine Demere
Anne Catherine Demere is an intern with Femestella. She is almost too passionate about pop culture and the entertainment industry and she loves to write about it. One of her favorite things is when feminism and pop culture overlap. She's either starting a new TV show or in class, there's no in between. And those two rarely coincide.