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Bella Hadid Off-White SS20 show Paris Fashion Week
Backstage at Off-White SS20, Photography Christina Fragkou

Bella Hadid didn’t feel sexy or powerful walking in Victoria’s Secret shows

Discussing her mental health and the pressures of working in fashion at Vogue’s Fashion Festival, the former VS model praised Rihanna and her Savage X Fenty show

Bella Hadid has revealed the first time she was comfortable modelling lingerie was at the Savage X Fenty fashion show earlier this year, despite walking for Victoria’s Secret three times prior. 

Put on by Rihanna this September as part of New York Fashion Week, the Savage show was praised for its use of diverse models, including the likes of Hadid’s sister Gigi, Laverne Cox, Alek Wek, Aquaria and more. 

A celebration of inclusivity in fashion, the show was compared to VS, which has contrastingly been criticised for its unwillingness to incorporate inclusive models in its shows and campaigns. The American lingerie brand did not hold its annual show this year, with internal shifts taking place in the company.   

Speaking at the Vogue Fashion Festival in Paris on Friday Hadid said, “Rihanna’s amazing. For me, that was the first time on a runway that I felt really sexy. Because when I first did Fenty, I was doing other lingerie shows and I never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear.” 

Hadid also went on to discuss her mental health, detailing the demands of working in the fashion world. Admitting she finds it tolling to work with high profile names such as Tom Ford and Mario Sorrenti, the model said she felt “guilty for being able to live this incredible life” but still feeling depressed. “It doesn’t make sense,” she said. 

Now 23, the model said her mental health started to suffer when her career began at age 18. Telling the audience she would cry all the time, now, the Hadid explained she wanted to use her platform to promote issues close to her. “I just hope I can help in any way I can. I feel like I would be doing a disservice to myself if I didn’t speak about something such as mental health because that’s pretty much what I’ve been going through for the past five years very intensely. Now we’re here and we’re good, but it took a while,” she said.