Gigi Hadid is not afraid of some speed, and she wants the world to know it.
For her latest editorial, Hadid covers V magazine’s “fearless” issue, shot by Mario Sorrenti and styled by George Cortina, with an interview by Serena Williams, which features three covers of her in action: splashing out on her custom Fendi Sea-Doo, swimming with the Miami sea life in a Chanel suit, and racing on a Philipp-Plein-monogrammed dune buggy. And yes, she did all her own stunts.
“When we got to set, everyone was like, ‘You know, you’re going to be on a Jet Ski today,’ and everyone was kind of tiptoeing around it. And I was like, ‘Guys, I need to be let loose to be badass and have fun. If I half-ass it, it’s not going to feel genuine to me and then I’m not going to be able to perform how I want this to look,’” she says. “And so they just kind of were like, ‘OK,’ and trusted me and then I think once they saw me ride the Jet Ski, [they] kind of trusted me — that I wasn’t going to kill myself. I was like, ‘Guys, I’m a daredevil; I’ve jumped out of a plane.’”
Hadid made the most out of the opportunity and tapped into her thrill-seeking side to get the job done. “I couldn’t walk for five days after that shoot,” she says. “We were in Miami with custom Jet Skis, and I was like, ‘I have custom, thigh-high Fendi boots on.’ Like, I had to give it my all.”
Hadid has known V’s editor in chief and creative director Stephen Gan since early in her career. “He has always kind of seen that fierce side of me, which a lot of the times comes out when I’m in front of the camera,” she says.
For the feature, Hadid was interviewed by Serena Williams, which the two conducted themselves without prompting.
“I think she texted it to me while we were in the location van,” Gan says. “I don’t even know how that happened. But she was sending me the interview for my magazine.”
“He was like, ‘Oh, you already did it?’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, I’ve got it,’” Hadid says.
Hadid and Williams have been friends for the past six or so years, and Hadid has on numerous occasions traveled to watch the tennis great play.
“Serena, obviously she’s an athlete on an other-worldly planet than me, but she gets my mindset in certain situations, and I think that we connect in that way,” Hadid says. “Until we had that conversation, I had never really like thought about how similar it is that Bella and I do what we do, and her and Venus…it’s rare for sisters to be competitive — not with each other, but [in] competitive parts of an industry.”
The digital issue launches Monday, with accompanying behind-the-scenes videos showing Hadid doing all her own stunts for the shoot.
“Fearless in my work is something that is very important because a lot of people think that models are always concerned about every angle of their body in the wrong way. But I think once you start to understand angles and photographic layouts and how something is supposed to look, then I think that a model’s brain should kind of switch to a fearless place,” she says.
The theme came naturally to her, athleticism aside.
“A big discussion that I’ve been making in the past year is that I don’t wake up every day feeling like woman of the year — like I’m powerful. But I’ve been speaking about how it’s been important to me this year to find things that inspire me and make me feel powerful, even when I don’t wake up that way,” she says.
As for Gan, Hadid was the only model in mind for such a concept. “Gigi’s a different type of being; you could go, ‘Jump over that wall,’ and she’ll say, ‘OK, how high?’ And it was very rare to be able to find a partner in crime that could play that game with you.”