Whether she likes it or not, Hailey Baldwin (now Bieber) has just become the most talked about woman in the world.
She was born into a Hollywood dynasty and, as of November 16, Hailey Baldwin was officially confirmed as one half of pop royalty – with Justin Bieber announcing via Instagram that they were married. Yet, you might be surprised to learn that in spite of all this, Baldwin – or rather, Mrs Hailey Rhode Bieber – is a reluctant celebrity.
Originally printed in the December 2018 issue of Vogue Arabia
All the trappings of fame are there. A model since she was 17, a Vogue cover star, international fashion week runway alumni, and friends with our epoch’s glitterati – Kendall Jenner, Gigi and Bella Hadid – yet Bieber attempts to avoid the glare of the paparazzi whenever possible, hoping to keep her private life just that – private.
“I try my absolute best to be removed from the spotlight,” she explains, her oval engagement ring (rumored to be worth US $500 000) resembling a skating rink twinkling throughout our cover shoot. “And I spend increasingly less time on social media. is has helped me balance everything that comes with this life.”
You might find this hard to believe, with Bieber posting PDAs with her husband among images of her work to her almost 16 million followers on Instagram. However, she insists the account is mostly “a tool for my job and a way to stay in touch with friends and fans. It’s helped me to not share too much online because then I still feel I have a private life.” Even the way Bieber dresses – oversized tracksuits, sports bra, and trainers with minimal makeup and scraped back hair – is understated.
When your father is actor Stephen Baldwin and your uncles are actors Alec and Daniel, anonymity is a neat trick – if you can manage it. Even her graphic designer mother, Kennya, is the daughter of a Grammy award-winning composer, Eumir Deodato de Almeida. Bieber attributes her down-to-earth attitude to her upbringing. Both parents were adamant to ensure that she and her sister, Alaia, had as normal a childhood as possible.
“The way they raised us was so far removed from Hollywood that we didn’t really bring any aspects of the industry into our home,” she recalls. “I got to have a normal childhood and teenage years. I didn’t start getting recognition on my own until I was around 19. There are some ‘normal’ things I never did – like go to college – but I do think I was able to learn how to have a schedule, be on time, and be responsible, all because I started working at 17. Those are skills that most people don’t start learning until later in life. I think I grew up quicker than most.”
Early maturity is essential armor when you come from a family as famed as the Baldwins and achieve your own success while in your teens. The family name, like the Hadid’s and Jenner’s, may have facilitated her career launch, but there’s no doubt Bieber is working hard to maintain a good reputation.
And that she does, having been appointed brand ambassador for Adidas, Tommy Hilfiger, and bareMinerals. However, her fame has also made her perennial tabloid fodder, and her recent marriage has, unsurprisingly, seen the celebrity gossip magazines and websites move into an altogether new phase of meltdown.
To offer some context: the couple are also long-term friends – they have known other since they were kids – and enjoyed a brief romance between the end of 2015 and early 2016. Justin then dated fellow singer Selena Gomez on and off between 2011 and March 2018. Hailey and Justin began dating again around May 2018. He proposed in July, with the pair rumored to have wed in September after being spotted leaving a courthouse in Los Angeles, allegedly to obtain their wedding license.
But like every juicy celebrity story worth its clicks, this marriage came with a healthy slice of heartbreak. Following the engagement announcement, Gomez checked into a mental health facility and Justin was photographed crying numerous times, being consoled by his fiancé. While most newly engaged couples are at parties getting presents, the pre-Biebers were at the center of a press storm.
Alec Baldwin, the model’s award-winning uncle, believes that press scrutiny is nothing she can’t handle. “Our family knows fame,” he says. “We are used to being in the public eye. That’s going to be useful to Hailey. She gets it… She’s used to it.” The actor also has no fears about how the constant spotlight and hectic careers will affect the young couple.
“She’s a great kid,” he comments. “They both have such busy schedules – but in any relationship, you have to work hard to spend quality time together. If they can do that, they will do great.”
Baldwin is also confident that his niece – who, he shares, is marvelous at looking after his four children with second wife, Hilaria – will be a great mother. The topic of parenthood is not something Bieber shies away from. She comes across as a warm homebody who loves nothing more than being surrounded by her family. “I love kids and I can’t wait to have my own. I would say that now, that’s a closer reality, but definitely not anytime soon,” admits the 22-year-old, adding that family values are paramount to her.
“I’ve learned the importance of family. Being close to my own has helped me so much in this industry. It’s great to have those strong ties.” Another important element of her family is her father, Stephen. “I honestly am not saying this because he’s my dad, but I do think he is just insanely talented,” she states. “I think he’s worked hard on his craft and given some of the most memorable performances on screen.”
As she prepares for her first year as a married woman, what resolutions has she set for herself ? “To be more intentionally kind to people,” is her simple answer. Bieber may reside between New York and Los Angeles and hang with some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, but she will always be the down-to-earth kid from Tucson, Arizona. Whether a Baldwin or Bieber, one thing’s for sure – she won’t be escaping the spotlight anytime soon.
Photography: Zoey Grossman
Style: Bobette Cohn, assisted by Erika Golcher
Hair: Jenny Kim at M.A.P using Oribe, assisted by Juan Vigoya
Makeup: Morgane Martini at the Wall Group using Marc Jacobs Beauty
Nails: Elina Ogawa at De Facto using Tenoverten