Gigi Hadid is all about balancing the personal and professional — the new mother unveiled her first solo Vogue cover on her social media while her daughter Khai was "rockin’ in her Nemo bouncer".
"I am emotional and honoured to take my first professional step, in this new chapter of womanhood, with this dream come true!" wrote the model of Palestinian roots.
The 25-year-old spoke about choosing home birth with her partner, musician Zayn Malik, for their daughter who arrived in September last year.
"What I really wanted from my experience was to feel like, 'Okay, this is a natural thing that women are meant to do',” she told Chloe Malle, a Vogue contributing editor.
Factoring in realities of Covid-19 — such as how many people could be in the delivery room — the couple skipped a New York City hospital as initially decided and welcomed their baby girl at Gigi's home in Bucks County, Pennsylvania, following a 14-hour labor.
She had Zayn; her mother, Yolanda; and her sister, Bella in the room along with a local midwife and her assistant.
She tells Malle that Zayn likened his own experience of her birth to a lion documentary he’d seen in which a male lion paces nervously outside the cave while the lioness delivers her cubs. “Z was like, ‘That’s how I felt! You feel so helpless to see the person you love in pain'.”
Speaking about labour pain, Gigi says she knew it was going to be the "craziest pain in my life". "But you have to surrender to it and be like, ‘This is what it is'. I loved that.”
“Afterward, Z and I looked at each other and were like, 'we can have some time before we do that again'.”
Khai, from the Arabic for “the chosen one”, has been kept away from the public eye.
Gigi has no nanny, no baby nurse — her mother, Zayn and his mother help her with caregiving duties.
“I think that just giving your child the opportunity to explore different interests is such a beautiful thing,” she says, applying it to the baby’s spiritual upbringing as well. “My dad’s Muslim, and my mom grew up celebrating Christmas. I felt like I was allowed to learn about every religion when I was a kid. I think it’s good to take different pieces of different religions that you connect with, and I think that’s how we’ll do that.”
Zayn’s father is British-Pakistani, and his mother, who is English and of Irish descent, converted to Islam.
“I think that [Zayn and I] both want our daughter to understand fully all of her background — and also we want to prepare her. If someone does say something to her at school, we want to give her the tools to understand why other kids would do that and where that comes from,” she says, sharing how her brother was told 'Your dad’s a terrorist' in elementary school after 9/11.
The former One Direction star has bought his daughter a retro pink VHS player and has purchased all the Disney cartoons as well as his favorite Bollywood films on cassette tape. Meanwhile, Gigi has decorated the nursery with a macramé cloud mobile, a rattan changing basket, and embroidered pillows.
Modelling or motherhood? Both
10 weeks after giving birth, Gigi was called upon for a Vogue cover. “I know that I’m not as small as I was before, but I also am a very realistic thinker. I straight up was like, ‘Yeah, I’ll shoot a Vogue cover, but I’m obviously not going to be a size 0’, nor do I, at this point, feel like I need to be back to that,” she tells Malle.
“I also think it’s a blessing of this time in fashion that anyone who says that I have to be that can suck it.”
Returning to work has been slow but steady. “I’m veering toward things that feel more stable than being in a different country every week,” says Gigi, who is already producing and directing her own media content from the comfort of her farm, both for Instagram (where she has some 62 million followers) and for publications.
“I’m proud of her face on a magazine, but seeing her give birth was a whole other level of proud,” says her mother Yolanda. “You go from looking at her as a daughter to looking at her as a fellow mother.”