I generally think Gigi Hadid is a good catwalk model, and she can sometimes convince me that a bonkers red-carpet ensemble is working. Mostly, I think she has a pleasant energy; she seems like a nice person, and I don’t think I’ve ever heard any rumblings to the contrary. But her magazine covers have left a lot to be desired. First there was the one I like to call Murder Vogue, then this insane one where it looks like she’s waiting for someone to put a spoon in her mouth, and now there’s this Elle, where she’s kneeling on a duvet with her head cocked back just enough that every time I come back to it, I have to remind myself who it is. I don’t know why, but I don’t think any magazine cover has quite captured her yet — which is ironic, given that the cover claims they’ll show us The Gigi Hadid You Don’t Know. Which I guess is The Gigi Hadid You Keep Expecting to Be Jessica Simpson, For One Hot Second.

I wouldn’t say they really ever get to “The Gigi Hadid You Don’t Know,” though. Much has been made about her crying in the story: She’s asked what people don’t know about her, and replies that one tough thing about her job is that there are a lot of out-of-context snapshots out there that purport to inform, but do not, and that she feels she has to be experienced in person to be understood. She isn’t complaining, but she is wiping away tears, and I guess I kept waiting for one more real gut-punch of a sentence. It didn’t come. It wasn’t the big emotional revelation I was expecting, or else perhaps that was the revelation and it just wasn’t… that revealing?

This Elle cover coincides with her nabbing a hosting gig on Next in Fashion, a show I forgot existed, much less knew was going into season two. (I Googled it. Alexa Chung hosted with Tan France — who is the only one back for this season — and Eva Chen and stylist Elizabeth Stewart judged.) I hope she does well — she talks a lot in the story about having her daughter and realizing she wanted a more centered, structured life than the one she had as a jet-setter model, and that she really broke a sweat to get the gig:

She’s a reality competition completist (she’s watched everything from Blown Away to Lego Masters, and she won a celebrity edition of MasterChef), and France is a friend, so “it felt like a safe place for me to take the plunge,” she says. “But Netflix was not easy on me. They really put me through an audition process. I respected that, and it made me feel good when I got the job. I felt like I had earned it in their eyes, and so that gave me the confidence to go for it. You get a sense of impostor syndrome and you’re like, ‘Okay, are they just giving me this show because I have a lot of followers?’ The fact that they really questioned my intentions for being on the show helped me jump into it headfirst. If they think that I can do it, then that gives me more confidence than maybe I would’ve had otherwise.”

[Photos by Mario Sorrenti; story by Adrienne Gaffney; Elle’s March 2023 issue is on newsstands March 7]
Tags: Elle, Gigi Hadid