Bella Hadid, the budding supermodel, found herself in the wrong place at the wrong time–in the middle of a social media storm– over her new Nike athletic apparel campaign. Critics questioned her body image, saying she’s too thin to represent an athletic brand.
Olympic figure skater Meryl Davis is one of the most high-profile critics.
Davis, who is currently a contestant on “Dancing With the Stars” slammed using models to represent athletic apparel brands.
Ironically, Hadid, 20, fueled the uproar herself when she posted a photo on Instagram.
She is featured in skin-tight leotards standing beneath a huge billboard featuring the campaign in New York City. She definitely has a model’s build.
The willowy 5-foot, nine-inch tall model’s legs look unusually thin and she has a pronounced thigh-gap. That may work on a fashion runway, but not in a brand campaign that’s supposed to represent athleticism.
“Sport brands need to use an athletic bodied person to model. I’m not wearing Nike gear to get skinny, I’m wearing it to get in shape!” wrote one social media critic.
Other boo-birds said Hadid did not look athletic in the campaign and would create unrealistic body image expectations among young teens.
“Yeh this is why young girls get eating disorders, when being abnormally thin is glorified. Well done,” said another critic.
Other social media commentators shot back, accusing critics of body shaming.
Bella’s mom, “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” ex-star Yolanda Foster came to her daughter’s defense as well.
She told gossip site TMZ Bella is a top equestrian who had Olympic potential until she contracted lyme disease. Then, noting Bella’s stellar looks added: “You obviously don’t have to be an athlete to wear or enjoy Nike wear.”
Big sis Gigi Hadid, also a model, was featured in a similar campaign for Reebok athletic gear.
Gigi reportedly prides herself on her athleticism and did not draw the same kind of heat over body image. She repped the new #PerfectNever campaign for the global athletic footwear and apparel company.