Bella opens up about 'unlearning' toxic body image after modelling for VS

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3-min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Bella Hadid has opened up about how her mental health and self confidence was impacted by her work as a Victoria's Secret model, describing how she's since had to "unlearn" toxic body image behaviours.

The 25-year-old modelled for the lingerie brand from 2016 to 2018, but parted ways from the company in 2020 after alleging that she, and other models, had endured harassment and inappropriate conduct from Ed Razek (a former executive at L Brands, the parent company of Victoria's Secret) – although he denies the claims.

But, earlier this week, Victoria's Secret announced the model had rejoined the brand as a member of its VS Collective. The collective is made up of a group of ambassadors, not VS Angels, who will work towards the brand's mission to be more diverse and empowering to women. Other ambassadors already signed up include Hailey Bieber, Priyanka Chopra and Naomi Osaka.

Reflecting on her decision to team up with Victoria's Secret, Bella took a deep-dive into how the brand has changed the relationship she has with her body. "For me, growing up in a business of beauty, I think it created a lot of insecurities. If they had asked me a couple of years ago to do Victoria's Secret again, I wouldn't have been strong enough to stand in my power and do it. Because I was very insecure in general," she told Marie Claire. "But I've really learned that beauty for me is about that confidence within. And being able to work on your mental health."

Bella continued: "I look at my body now as a temple. Before, it kind of got to the point where my body wasn't owned by me. Now I feel like I own my body again."

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

"It really is about keeping that grounding and that love for yourself and understanding that your worth comes from you and not from anybody else," she commented. "And yes, that was through therapy. And that was through a lot of self realisations and not putting my worth in anyone else's hand except for my own."

The 25-year-old added: "My life for so many years revolved around only working and how I was going to lose that weight for one of those shows. Now, I just am who I am. And I don't need to change for anybody else — even when I see things online about people talking about my body or the way it fluctuates or this or that. I wake up in the mornings for me and not for anyone else."

As for how she thinks the brand has changed since she first started working for them in 2016, Bella said "It has been a few years since I've done anything with Victoria's Secret. What magnetised me to coming back was them coming to me and really proving to me that, behind the scenes, Victoria's Secret has changed so drastically."

She continued, "We [Bella and the other ambassadors] feel supported now, instead of how we used to feel, when it was a lingerie company that used to be run by men for men. I just look around [on set] and I feel empowered again. I feel empowered in lingerie, instead of feeling like my body is some sort of money maker."

Hear, hear!

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting