South Africans are getting a taste of how the modelling industry in New York works in the Lifetime original show, Making a Model With Yolanda Hadid. We’re exposed to “It” girls Gigi and Bella’s mom trying to mould aspiring teenage models to succeed on the runway and so far, things don’t seem easy.
We chatted to the former model and television personality, Yolanda Hadid, to find out more about the show and what it takes to be in the modelling industry.
What sets this show apart from other modelling shows on TV?
It’s more about the relationship between the mother and daughter that are planning to go into this industry. We are also working with young girls and it’s about their love of a dream, rather than the girls being ready to start working tomorrow.
Ultimately, what do you think it takes to make a model in this day and age?
A great model today is a young woman that stands in her power. Somebody that is authentic, that’s not perfect and is willing to embrace those imperfections. I think that’s something that shows in a photograph and we are living in a world where everybody is trying to be perfect. And when we just own our imperfections and stay true and authentic to who we are as human beings, that’s something that breathes success.
Bella and Gigi also feature on the show
Yes, I think it was a great experience for the younger models to actually connect with them on a human level. Having the experience of being with somebody they look up to who they think is so perfect, yet when they are face to face with them, they realise Bella and Gigi are normal girls just like them. They are no better, no bigger, not any different than any of the girls on the show. I think that was a very inspiring and calming experience for the younger girls - and for my girls, it was a great way to give back and connect.
Where did the idea for the show come from?
It came from Lifetime, but when I was called in for my first meeting it just felt like such a perfect fit - and my connections in the industry and my experience and wisdom that’s come with not only growing up in the industry myself but raising my kids in it as well, has given it a certain twist and flair that is very unique in itself.
You moved away from Beverly Hills to New York for the show. How did you balance the demands of this show with your new life?
I moved to New York two weeks before I started filming the show. At the beginning I had to juggle a lot, but it all worked out and I was so excited to start this project. Everything was new. New York is very inspiring and motivating to me compared with the life I lived in California. Miraculously, my body started going into remission at that time (the 52-year old had Lyme disease) so I started to feel good and was able to get up every morning and go to work like a normal person.
The latest season of Real Housewives of Beverly Hills is on. Will you ever go back to the show?
I don’t really watch TV because the time that I am not working I spend at the farm taking care of my animals and gardening. I also prefer to read a book than watch TV, so I don’t think I’ll be making a cameo in Real Housewives of Beverly Hills because that part of my life had an ending and I don’t like to go back to things that I feel are an old chapter but with that said, my time on the show was such an amazing experience for me. It’s given me a platform to bring awareness to a disease that so many people know so little about. It had such an extraordinary higher purpose in my life and I am forever grateful for that opportunity.
The show also features the models’ moms. What roles do the moms take on?
The biggest challenge that the moms had to take on was how they could be great, supportive moms. They also take on a little bit of the management tasks that come with having a child in this industry. They were in the house, they had to cook and clean, converse with their children, plan and support them. They also had to learn to step back and not be so competitive and also deal with other moms. It was a great journey to watch.
What sort of exercises will the girls have to endure to get to the end?
The girls have many different tasks. Not only from learning to take care of themselves, but how to dress, how to eat, how to show up in a meeting with important people in the industry. They learn about hair and make-up, how to walk the runway. They connect with other human beings, learn to be competitive, yet in a kind and graceful way. So we go through the different aspects of what’s it’s really like to be in the industry in the real world on a daily basis.
Why should South Africans tune in to the show?
It’s a great show to see what goes on in this part of the world, New York City, and anybody can learn from the mother-daughter relationship and also identify with the love of a dream. Teenagers all over the world want to be a model yet (they) don’t have realistic expectations, so the show will be a little view of what it’s really like. It’s a fun show and (there are) things to learn, viewers will laugh and get annoyed it’s just a fun show to tune into.