Earlier this month Bella Hadid hit a breaking point. After an Instagram user left a negative comment about Hadid and Kendall Jenner’s appearance and personality, Hadid hit back hard — and she doesn’t regret it one bit.
“I usually never respond to anybody and I think that night I just really had had it,” Hadid tells PEOPLE at the Levi’s Coachella Brunch about her reaction to the negative comment. “At the end of the day I don’t want to mean, and I don’t want to ‘clap back.’ We’re all just human beings and it wasn’t even about what they said about our faces, it was just that — don’t attack my personality because you don’t know me. That’s what deeply hurts me.”
The commenter — who has since deleted the comment — reacted to a split photo of Hadid and Jenner posted on a fan account with the comment, “Kenny or Bella?” The commenter wrote: “2 fake bitches sitting in a tree, first comes the nose job, then come the lips, oh and don’t forget the built in cheeks lmao y’all trippin’ fam, money can get you a new face but not a nicer personality which these two girls need.”
Hadid responded by defending her character. “I wish you would know either of our personalities. And not only that, I wish you would only grasp a heart of your own,” she wrote. “Blessings to you sweetheart. Jealousy is a cry for help that I wish I could help you with.”
Over the weekend, the 21-year-old model told PEOPLE that it also hurt her to see Jenner’s personality attacked as well. “They don’t know Kendall either and people have their different perceptions of her, too. But she’s such an amazing girl and so kind and so sweet and really generous from her heart and people really don’t know that about her. I think that at that point I was just like, I’m done.”
While calling out a negative commenter was a “once-in-a-while kind of thing,” she’s learned to protect her privacy more on social media and not get too caught up in other people’s opinions, whether positive or negative.
“I used to be a really big over-sharer,” says Hadid, who counts over 17.4 million followers on the social media platform. “I learned that protecting myself and my heart is more important to me right now. I feel like at this point you sometimes start to believe the things that people say to you, whether it’s good or bad, but I like to share things that mean a lot to me.”
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She wishes she can have a separate account to post more personal photos for her fans, but for now she’s keeping those kinds of things to herself. “I think to be able to conserve my own self, I need to be able to take a step back and keep my center and keep my privacy.”
But that’s not stopping her from posting — she’s just being more strategic in what she puts on her feed. In fact, she posted a lot from Coachella this weekend, including snaps of herself at the music festival, and fan-girling over Snoop Dogg.