At only 23-years-old, supermodel Gigi Hadid has already had many astounding accomplishments, from working with designer brands to appearing on the cover of a host of magazines. She’s worked with labels such as Marc Jacobs, Prada, and Chanel, and accumulated a net worth of approximately $13 million. Now she’s receiving recognition for her dedication to philanthropy work. For the past two years, Hadid has served as a UNICEF ambassador and the experience has totally changed her life. On Friday, she was honored to accept Variety’s Power of Women honor In New York City, according to Variety. She gave an emotional speech during which she spoke about her recent trip to a refugee camp in Bangladesh.
Hadid stood among a tribe of other powerful women all of whom have been hard at work using their platform and following to make a difference in the world. Bette Midler, Taraji P. Henson, Kacey Musgraves, and Christiane Amanpour also received recognition at the event. While she was in Bangladesh, the model visited a refugee camp that provides housing for the Rohingya people, a primarily Muslim group fleeing their home in the Southwest Asian nation of Myanmar to escape persecution. While meeting with this ethnic group, Hadid asked them how UNICEF could best be of service to them and what they would tell the world about themselves if they could. She discovered that many of them wanted nothing more than a sense of identity.
“Even with their lives in limbo, these women and girls had such desire to do more, to be more, and to get educated to better their lives. When we asked them how UNICEF could help in different ways, and most importantly, what they wanted us to tell the world about them, what it really boiled down to was that they want an identity.”
Hadid became emotional when she recalled that she had to return home at the conclusion of her trip, all the while knowing that the Rohingya people would remain there in their same state of distress. She went on to emphasize that while donations certainly help this ethnic group, what they are really seeking is citizenship and the chance at freedom. Having a sense of identity is crucial as it allows us to express ourselves and lift up one another. Hadid went on to express the power social media provides when we are using it to do good and raise awareness towards important issues like this one.
“I feel resentment towards social media at times, but as I documented my trip with UNICEF, I understood the true value — someone is listening.”