As the first generation of a mixed race family, both Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik had a unique experience when it came to learning about their heritages. Now, they're figuring out the right way to teach their 9-month-old daughter, Khai, about her different backgrounds.
"We think about it and talk about it a lot as partners and it’s something that’s really important to us, but it’s also something that we first experienced ourselves," she explained to i-D. "Because both of our parents are their own heritage. We are that first generation of those mixed races, and then that comes with that first generational experience of being like, ‘Oh damn, I’m the bridge!’"
"That’s not something that my parents experienced or that they can really help me through," noted the model. "It’s something I’ve always thought about my whole life."
While Hadid's father is Palestinian, her mom was born in the Netherlands. Malik's father is a British Pakistani, and his mom is of British and Irish descent, converting to Islam once she married.
Growing up — and even nowadays — the Maybelline ambassador can struggle when it comes to identity.
"In certain situations, I feel – or I’m made to feel – that I’m too white to stand up for part of my Arab heritage. You go through life trying to figure out where you fit in racially. Is what I am, or what I have, enough to do what I feel is right?" she explained. "But then, also, is that taking advantage of the privilege of having the whiteness within me, right? Am I allowed to speak for this side of me, or is that speaking on something that I don’t experience enough to know? Do you know what I’m saying?"
Regardless of her personal experiences, the new mom plans to let her daughter figure things out in her own way.
"I think that Khai will grow up feeling out the way that she can or wants to be a bridge for her different ethnicities. But I think that it will be nice to be able to have those conversations, and see where she comes from [with] it, without us putting that onto her. What comes from her is what I’m most excited about, and being able to add to that or answer her questions, you know?"