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HBD! Here Are 5 Facts You Probably Didn’t Know About Bella Hadid

September Vogue Arabia

Bella Hadid in Fendi photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for the September 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia

Today is Bella Hadid‘s 22nd birthday and, to mark the occasion, Vogue Arabia rounds up some key facts about the superstar model.

1. She is an accomplished equestrian.
“Growing up on a ranch in Santa Barbara, I would go to school during the day, then go straight to the barn and ride my horses,” she revealed in the September 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia. The model, who claims she was riding horses before she learned how to walk, is a champion equestrian whose family lived on a horse ranch for over 10 years. Hadid planned to compete in the 2016 Olympics, but was forced to give up her sporting ambitions after contracting Lyme disease (her mother Yolanda Foster and brother Anwar also both have it). Her on-again-off-again flame Abel Tesfaye (The Weeknd) even referenced her horse-riding skills in his track Wasted Times from his surprise album My Dear Melancholy.

2. Hadid dyed her hair to distinguish herself from her older sister Gigi.
The newly-minted 22-year-old wasn’t always a brunette. “I just have a darker personality. And my sister being blonde and me being brunette, it’s a good separation,” she said in an interview with Allure. “I put a blonde wig on and think it would be fun to go back, but I’m happy with my hair. Blondes are so angelic. My sister can get away with anything.” A girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do.

3. According to Hadid, she is a “proud Muslim”.
In January 2017, the Hadid sisters took to the streets of New York to protest US President Donald Trump’s executive order banning people from seven predominately Muslim countries, with ripple effects felt throughout the global Muslim community – one that the Hadids are a proud part of. Following the protests, she opened up about religion for the first time in a candid interview with Porter magazine, explaining that her father, Mohamed Hadid, was also a Muslim refugee. “I’m proud to be a Muslim,” she revealed. The model has been extremely vocal about her roots, and when she posted her Vogue Arabia cover to her 14.5 million followers on Instagram, she reaffirmed her pride of identity when she wrote that it allowed her to “represent and cherish my half-Palestinian blood from my father and his strong, loving, wonderful Arab side of my family”. “This cover is in honor of my teta Khair Hadid, my family, and my Arab/ Muslim friends out there,” she wrote.

4. Her middle name is Khair, after her grandmother from her dad’s side.
The Palestinian-Dutch beauty’s middle name is Khair, which translates to “benevolent” in Arabic. Last year, her older sister Gigi took inspiration from Bella’s middle name, and released a signature red lipstick as part of her collaboration with Maybelline, entitled “Khair”. Speaking to Vogue, Gigi explained, “I named it after her because her favorite color is red.”

5. Before she became a model, Hadid moved to New York to pursue a photography degree.
“There wasn’t really one time in my life where I was like, ‘I want to be a model!’ It was more Gigi’s thing,” Hadid told Teen Vogue in 2014. Indeed, before she followed in her big sister’s modeling footsteps, the 22-year-old moved to New York to pursue a degree in photography at Parsons The New School for Design. Bella, who was used to being behind the camera since the age of seven, eventually got comfortable being in front of it too. “Having experience behind it has taught me about lighting and angles, how to move, and what looks good and what doesn’t.”

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