Happy 20th Birthday Gigi Hadid! The model of the moment has a lot to celebrate this year. She’s one of the most in-demand faces – walking for Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana, Michael Kors and Tom Ford in fashion weeks from Paris to New York – and her romance with pop singer Cody Simpson is stronger than ever. Add in the ultimate squad of girlfriends (Kendall Jenner, Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez) and a supportive family by her side, and Gigi’s world is picture perfect.
The California native’s real name is Jelena, but her mother Yolanda – one of the stars of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills – gave her the nickname Gigi when she was a child. “My mom was called Gigi as a kid by her mother when she was younger,” she tells Style.com. “She just picked up the tradition.” (Her step-father is Canadian musical legend David Foster.)
After being discovered by Guess founder Paul Marciano when she was just two years old, Gigi made her modelling debut for the fashion company in 1997. She went on to have a pretty normal childhood before getting back in front of the camera in 2011 after landing a contract with IMG Models. One of her first cheerleaders was former Paris Vogue editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld, who saw so much potential in the young beauty that she put her on the cover of the fourth edition of CR Fashion Book.
After making the cut for Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in 2014, Gigi has quickly carved her spot as the fashion world’s bona fide ‘It’ girl. And with her first beauty campaign with Maybelline set to debut later this year, Gigi’s reign is just getting started. To celebrate her birthday, Hello! explores the beauty's model life through her best Instagram pics!