Bella Hadid Missed Growing Up in 'Muslim Culture' After Being 'Extracted' From Palestinian Family

Bella Hadid is taking a look back on her upbringing, including what it was like not being given the chance to grow up in a Muslim community.

In a recent interview with GQ, the 25-year-old model — who is the daughter of Palestinian real estate developer, Mohamed Hadid, and Dutch model, Yolanda Hadid, — recalled being “extracted” from the Palestinian side of her family when she was 4, and expressed her sadness over growing up without that “missing” part of herself.

While she was born in Washington D.C., where she was surrounded by her Palestinian family members, Bella, her siblings and her mother moved to Santa Barbara, California following her parents’ divorce in 2000.

“I was with my Palestinian side [of the family in D.C.],” the young star told GQ. “And I got extracted when we moved to California.”

Bella opened up about her upbringing in Santa Barbara, away from her Palestinian and Muslim roots, sharing that she was often the only Arab girl in her class and was called racist names when she was a teenager.

“I was never able to see myself in anything else, so I tried to just sit back,” she said. “For so long I was missing that part of me, and it made me really, really sad and lonely.”

“I would have loved to grow up and be with my dad every day and studying and really being able to practice, just in general being able to live in a Muslim culture,” she added. “But I wasn’t given that.”

Bella — who has continuously spoken out about her support of Palestine amid the region’s ongoing conflict with Israel — said what her family has been through in Palestine drives her to be vocal about the Free Palestine movement.

“I speak about [this stuff] for the elderly that are still living there that have never been able to see Palestine free,” she told GQ, “and for the children that can still grow up and have a beautiful life.”

Meanwhile, Bella also got candid about making her acting debut in the Emmy-winning comedy-drama, “Ramy” — in which she’ll appear as a guest star — as well as her friendship with the show’s star and creator, Ramy Youssef.

The Hulu series follows Ramy, a first-generation Egyptian-American Muslim “who is on a spiritual journey in his politically-divided New Jersey neighborhood.”

Bella said she immediately felt accepted when she came to set, sharing that she experienced an emotional moment on her first day as the crew gifted her a “Free Palestine” t-shirt.

“I couldn’t handle my emotions,” she recalled. “Growing up and being Arab, it was the first time that I’d ever been with like-minded people. I was able to see myself.”

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