Gigi and Bella Hadid's mom, Yolanda, to young models: 'You're the master of your own mind, and boss of your own body'

While Hollywood watches as a slew of once-admired men fall after #MeToo allegations, the fashion industry is still ripe for a reckoning of its own. Photographers like Terry Richardson and Bruce Weber have been accused of inappropriate behavior, leading style gossip mongers to wonder when its own sea change will come.

In the meantime, some of fashion’s most famous are speaking out in support of #MeToo, and now, #TimesUp. Models like Cara Delevingne, Adwoa Aboah, and Karlie Kloss have publicly pledged their support to the movement that calls for an end to sexual harassment, abuse, and inequality in any workplace. And during an interview with Build Series NYC this week, Yolanda Hadid — mom to Gigi, Bella, and Anwar Hadid, and the face of a new reality series, Making a Model — warned young women that harassment is everywhere, and vigilance is key.

<em>Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid</em> premieres on Jan. 11 on Lifetime. (Photo: Zach Dilgard)
Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid premieres on Jan. 11 on Lifetime. (Photo: Zach Dilgard)

On abuse and harassment, Hadid says, “It can happen anywhere, but yes, it happens more in this industry.” Hadid, whose daughters are seemingly on multiple international Vogue covers at any given time and whose son is also a breakout model, says her superstar offspring aren’t immune from the perils of the modeling world — creepy photographers but one example — and she reminded them of that once they embarked upon a full-time career in the industry.

“I always taught my kids that just because someone’s a janitor at a school and wears a badge and a suit doesn’t mean you can trust that person. So you have to be really protective of your body. Your body is yours,” Hadid says. (That ethos was manifested as power, if readers recall, when Gigi notoriously defended herself against an attacker after a fashion show in 2016.) “You don’t ever let anybody touch it unless you want it to be touched. We had those conversations, but it’s life. It happens all over,” the Hadid matriarch says.

From left: Athena, Lilyan, Mikayla, Yolanda Hadid, Makenzie, Breanna, and Carrington star in <em>Making a Model With Yolanda Hadid</em>. (Photo: Nils Ericson)
From left: Athena, Lilyan, Mikayla, Yolanda Hadid, Makenzie, Breanna, and Carrington star in Making a Model With Yolanda Hadid. (Photo: Nils Ericson)

Hadid hopes that other young people who watch her new show — aspiring models or not — will take away messages like keep your family close, follow your dreams, and remain your truest self, the Dutch model turned reality star says. The show, which airs on Lifetime TV, puts a handful of aspiring teenage models and their “protective mama bears,” as Hadid might call them, in one house (replete with mother-daughter bunk beds), and features weekly challenges meant to test their modeling skills, as well as their character.

“I’m just glad women today are starting to stand up for what’s right,” she says. “This is our body, and you’re the master of your own mind and the boss of your own body, and we have to stand up for what’s right.”

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