Gigi Hadid Says She’s Been Made to Feel ‘Too White’ to Embrace Her Arab Heritage


Becoming a parent can make you reexamine everything in your life, but for Gigi Hadid, it’s placed a magnifying glass over a feeling she’s dealt with her whole life. In an interview with i-D, Gigi opened up about being mixed race, and the struggles she’s had at the intersection of two heritages—particularly as it applies to raising her daughter, Khai.

In the interview, Gigi, whose father is Palestinian and mother is Dutch, spoke about passing as white and the privilege that comes with that.

“In certain situations, I feel—or I’m made to feel—that I’m too white to stand up for part of my Arab heritage. You go through life trying to figure out where you fit in racially,” she said. “Is what I am, or what I have, enough to do what I feel is right? But then, also, is that taking advantage of the privilege of having the whiteness within me, right? Am I allowed to speak for this side of me, or is that speaking on something that I don’t experience enough to know?”

Zayn Malik and Gigi Hadid are seen on her birthday on April 23, 2021 in New York City. Raymond Hall

As the daughter of parents from two different heritages, Gigi said she felt like a “bridge” between their two ethnicities. “That’s not something that my parents experienced or that they can really help me through. It’s something I’ve always thought about my whole life,” she said. Now, in raising daughter Khai with Zayn Malik—who is British and Pakistani—Gigi said she’s looking forward to talking about their different backgrounds.

“I think that Khai will grow up feeling out the way that she can or wants to be a bridge for her different ethnicities,” she said. “But I think that it will be nice to be able to have those conversations, and see where she comes from [with] it, without us putting that onto her. What comes from her is what I’m most excited about, and being able to add to that or answer her questions, you know?”

This post originally appeared on Teen Vogue.


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