Bella Hadid (25) spoke to “i-D Magazine” about her difficult time as a teenager. “Growing up I thought it was normal to have this chronic anxiety and this distance inside me, crying every day and not knowing who I am.”

She would have been smoking a pack of cigarettes a day by the age of 14 and developed an eating disorder, but assumed that all children her age did. “I realized that maybe I was trying to figure out why I felt this way,” says Hadid. “And in reality, all I needed was therapy.”

Her first years as a model weren’t easy either: “During that part of my life I was so beside myself, I was so confused by what people saw of me.” To this day, she reads Instagram comments with disbelief: “I don’t understand how I got to this point where people either appreciate my work or know who I am.”

In the fashion industry there is no healthy way of dealing with these problems. “For years I would sit in a makeup chair before shows and cry,” she recalls. “The barber patted me on the head like, ‘Oh, are you alright?’ and I was like, ‘Yeah, well, that, that…’.” But people didn’t seem interested in listening any further. “They were already on their next call.”

The fashion industry has never been a place to open up – something she wanted to change, says Hadid. She has been speaking and posting about her mental health issues for the last year. In November 2021, she had shared a series of pictures on Instagram of her crying. “I felt so misunderstood by the vision of me that people were seeing,” she says now. “I just didn’t want to be alive if people didn’t know what was actually happening to me.”