Despite modeling in multiple Victoria’s Secret fashion shows, Bella Hadid never felt “really sexy” on the catwalk until this year’s New York Fashion week.
Hadid, 23, walked in Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty event in September, wearing an all-yellow ensemble that included thigh-high stockings, a bustier top and a lacy scarf. She also wore a gold belly chain and other golden jewelry accents.
“Rihanna’s amazing. For me, that was the first time on a runway that I felt really sexy,” Hadid said of the experience on Friday, speaking with filmmaker Loïc Prigent at Vogue‘s Fashion Festival in Paris, Women’s Wear Daily reported. “Because when I first did Fenty, I was doing other lingerie shows and I never felt powerful on a runway, like, in my underwear.”
While she didn’t call out any other lingerie companies by name, Hadid is a known Victoria’s Secret Angel, and has walked in the well-known fashion show three times.
“I like being another character,” Hadid explained. “I think at this point I don’t necessarily love being myself sometimes. Sometimes on the runway you get either nervous or you forget how your legs move.”
Hadid also opened up from the stage at Hôtel Potocki about her mental health journey throughout her modeling years.
“For a while I just didn’t want to talk about it, and I’ve gone through a lot in the past few years with my health. I feel guilty for being able to live this incredible life, have the opportunities that I do, but somehow still be depressed. It doesn’t make sense,” Hadid shared.
“I would cry every single morning, I would cry during my lunch breaks, I would cry before I slept,” she said of the at times grueling hours her job requires. “I was very emotionally unstable for a while when I was working 14-hour days for four months straight as an 18-year-old. I think I just wanted to breathe a little bit. And so it kind of put me in a spiral.”
The covergirl added that she hopes by speaking about her struggles, she can help fans and followers who might be going through the same thing.
“I just hope I can help in any way I can,” she said. “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.”
Last month, Hadid addressed her mental health in a lengthy Instagram post, writing, “Sometimes it just seems easier to live within your sadness rather than talk about it. if it wasn’t for the people closest to me, I probably would have still been in that place, and for that, I am forever thankful to them.”
The model also revealed her fight with social anxiety on her mom’s show, Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid last year, and has been candid about how her fight with Lyme disease has impacted both her physical and mental wellbeing.
On Friday, Hadid shared an Instagram post from just moments before she took the stage to chat with Prigent.
“This morning, about to speak at the @vogueparis French Vogue Fashion Festival with @loicprigent about my career , how it started, the progression and my passions,” she wrote in the caption. “Humbled to speak with you and thank you @emmanuellealt for having me on such an important day!”