"You can't sit with us!"
OK, Gigi Hadid didn't actually say that—Mean Girls' Gretchen Weiners did—but the principle still applies. In Harper's Bazaar's June/July issue (on newsstands May 23), the 22-year-old model explains why she's not looking to initiate any new members into her famous girl squad.
Once someone becomes famous, "a lot of interesting things in friends come out," Gigi argues. "So, in a way it's good because you learn that it's better to have a few really good friends than tons of friends you aren't really sure about. There are people who understand that I love them and who know that when I get back to town I'm going to call them, but sometimes I can't call every day because I'm in weird places. I've lost a lot of friends because I'll get busy for a short period of time, and they're not reaching out, but if I don't reach out, then it's like I've changed."
Gigi's tight-knit group of girls—which includes fellow models Bella Hadid and Kendall Jenner, plus queen bee Taylor Swift—is all she needs, anyway. "The time I do have off, it's not even enough to give everyone I love attention," she explains. "I'm good with [the friends] I've got."
From professional setbacks to personal heartbreaks, the squad has been through it all. And Taylor, who has been in hiding since January, has long been one of Gigi's biggest cheerleaders.
"As a friend, Gigi is one of the first people I go to for advice. She has this incredible ability to see all sides of a situation and simplify it for you, to see the complexity of people. Gigi's No. 1 rule is to treat people the way she'd want to be treated, so she's on time (or early) to work, says hello to everyone on set, asks them how they are, and actually listens to their response," the "Bad Blood" singer writes in an e-mail. Calling Gigi an "innately kind and inclusive person" she lauds her for becoming a "huge power player and businesswoman without ever compromising that."
It also helps that Gigi can commiserate with her 20-year-old sister. "She's so understanding of the demands of this job, and it's really great that I can talk to her about it. Because a lot of the time I feel suffocated by my own work ethic and by the expectations I put on myself," the model says. "It's really nice when you have people who say, 'It's OK to take time for yourself.'"
Finding that balance—and setting boundaries—has only made Gigi a better model.
"Becoming a successful and financially independent young woman so early on comes with responsibilities, which can take away from life's innocence," her mom, reality star Yolanda Hadid, tells the magazine. "But we have so much gratitude for the amazing journey Gigi is on."