Bella Hadid Reflects on Her Muslim Roots, Lyme Disease Diagnosis and Seeking Solace in Her Apartment

The model does not always welcome the publicity that comes with her job

By Samantha Schnurr Apr 03, 2017 6:36 PMTags

While Bella Hadid may be virtually everywhere (her face graces billboards and the pages of magazines on nearly a daily basis), there's still much to understand about the 20-year-old rising fashion star.

To start, the model isn't so fond of eyes being on her when she's off the catwalk.

"It gets really overwhelming," she said of being recognized all the time in PORTER's Summer Issue. "You feel really overexposed and you don't want to see anybody... I just want to be in my apartment alone and kind of retreat and be centered again."

Bella Hadid's Best Looks

That attention has only escalated since she and The Weeknd, one of Hollywood's hottest young couples, broke it off last November. While the Grammy winner has since struck up a romance with Selena Gomez, another member of Tinseltown's twentysomething circle, Hadid only has eyes for herself right now. 

"I'm just really focusing on myself, and my work, and just being the best that I can be," she told the magazine. "I'm not really worried about what guys think about me, I'm just trying to be a woman!"

How Models like Kendall Jenner, Gigi Hadid and Bella Hadid Unwind After Walking the Runway

An element of that womanhood has been managing a Lyme disease diagnosis that once left her battling to move.  

"I couldn't get out of bed for six days," she recalled. "My brain would get all foggy, and I couldn't see. That was the hardest time of my life." 

In addition to her health, Hadid has also had to juggle her runway aspirations with comparisons to her older sister, Gigi Hadid. However, Bella is quick to point out one important element to consider in such judgments.

"People think we're the same and that we've been working just as long, but I'm two years behind her," she said. "I still have a long time to catch up!" 

While she's already well on her way to conquering the entire industry, the catwalk pro has also made strides in letting the stress of the job roll off her shoulders. 

"I think I've gotten more used to being around people," Bella said. "I used to get so nervous doing interviews. I'm a very sensitive person."

Amid conflict between the American government and immigrants living in the United States, the star can't help but reflect on her own roots as the daughter of a Muslim refugee. 

"[Mohamed Hadid] was always religious, and he always prayed with us," she said. "I am proud to be a Muslim."

To see the full interview with Bella Hadid, buy the latest issue of PORTER, on sale globally on Friday April 7. Also available as a digital edition here.