Bella Hadid’s mother has come to her defense after the supermodel’s recent Nike campaign sparked a torrent of comment from Internet trolls and Olympians Meryl Davis and Ashley Wagner.
“You obviously don’t have to be an athlete to wear or enjoy Nike,” Yolanda said Friday during an interview with TMZ, adding that Bella was once an equestrian sports competitor from 3 years old until 15, when she began suffering from Lyme disease.
On Monday, Bella unveiled her “New York Made” billboard in the Big Apple, but some of the detractors among the nearly 2,700 comments cried that she was “too skinny” to represent a sportswear brand. Davis, an ice skater, chimed in — tweeting that she thought a professional athlete would’ve been a better choice: “I’ll take the one promoted by the athlete please ,” she tweeted one day later along with a photo composite of Bella wearing Nike, Kylie Jenner in Puma and Team USA gymnast Aly Raisman wearing Reebok.
Fellow Olympian Ashley Wagner joined the chorus, commenting on the tweet, “Strong is my kind of beautiful!!” Reebok Women responded on Twitter: “@AshWagner2010 @Meryl_Davis @Aly_Raisman Couldn’t agree more with you, ladies! #ToughIsBeautiful.”
Yolanda shared an image of daughter on Friday in action on a horse. “Always remember who you were before the world told you who you should be…. @bellahadid #athlete#horselover,” she captioned an Instagram photo .
The “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star revealed earlier this year that Bella’s woes with Lyme disease prevented her from continuing in professional riding sports. “[Bella] had to give up her lifelong dream of having a professional riding career and a shot at the Olympics due to her severe symptoms and inability to ride,” Yolanda shared in January. “[She] struggles with symptoms of chronic Lyme every day.”
Yolanda has said that some of the symptoms of her own battle with the disease included loss of eyesight, migraines, joint pain, numbness, short-term memory loss, among other issues.
Speaking to Entertainment Tonight on Friday, Davis clarified that she intended to say she supports a “diversified ideal of beauty” when she tweeted about Bella’s Nike campaign.
“As someone who has experienced just how hurtful comments on the Internet can be, my intention is to promote the use of a diversified ideal of beauty and support the role I believe female athletes can play in the pursuit of that,” Davis said. “I feel very strongly that all women should be represented in the media for young girls to see and my intention is to encourage inclusiveness. I am about women supporting women and building one another up.”