Bella Hadid Talks L.A.'s "Dope" Style, Being a Part of the Nike Fam

Courtesy of Nike

The 20-year-old is the face of the Nike Cortez relaunch.

As the face of the relaunch of Nike's Cortez sneaker, first released in 1972, Bella Hadid has some big shoes to fill.

Tom Hanks sported the sneakers as Forrest Gump while running across the country; Farrah Fawcett was wearing the kicks in that iconic skateboarding image and, you know, countless Olympians in the 1970s wore them while representing the U.S. of A. And now, Hadid (who was born in 1996, btw) is the newest face of the shoe, which has been re-released in the original red, white and blue colorway, as well as new colors and textures including crushed velvet and metallic gold. 

Some detractors have criticized sportswear giants like Reebok, Puma and Adidas for drafting supermodels for athletic campaigns, but whereas the sneaker was originally meant for actual physical activity (it was created by Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman as the brand's first track shoe) the Cortez is now heralded as a must-have for sneaker heads, fashionistas and hype beasts, not unlike those who woke up about the crack of 8 a.m. to see Hadid speak about her involvement with the brand at the Nike store at The Grove. 

Of the almost 200 fans waiting to hear the Q&A, moderated by E! New's Sibley Scoles, almost all were dressed to the nines in upscale streetwear — from crushed velvet champagne colored sweatpants styled with oversize luxe hoodies to sherbert colored denim that was ripped and frayed in all the right places. These ladies, in full hair and makeup, were not dressed for a jaunt around the track. 

"I would probably wear a little summer dress, a silky dress or something like that," Hadid told The Hollywood Reporter of the ideal Cortez ensemble for a casual Saturday spent at Joan's on Third or the beach — two of her favorite L.A. hangs. "Or a pair of Levi’s with a vintage T-shirt — something cool. I think that ode to the '70s is always fun, and this is the perfect shoe to do it with." 

For the Saturday morning occasion, Hadid was dressed in men's Nike's gear — oversize cargo track pants and a windbreaker — an outfit she handpicked and styled with a sports bra and the red, white and blue Cortez. A scrunchie and gold hoop door-knocker earrings, with "Cortez" spun across the middle, added the perfect throwback touch. 

But though she's a supermodel juggling countless endorsement deals (Bulgari, Dior Beauty and her own Chrome Hearts collaboration, to name a few), it's important to remember that Hadid is also an athlete, one who had Olympic equestrian dreams before modeling took over her life. These days, she mostly works out in the gym (those abs don't lie), but she is looking into buying a couple more horses and getting back to the stables soon. A contract with a sports label, she adds, is the icing on the cake of her supermodel career.

"It’s crazy because my biggest dream was doing Chanel and having a Dior contract, I did a Fendi campaign — so I did a lot of the fashion stuff, and then being able to walk the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was so crazy to me because it took me into that more commercial lingerie land," she said. "And now I’m able to work with Nike, which has always been my number one, it’s been a dream of mine since I was a kid. I don’t even know if it was a dream because I didn’t think it was a realistic thing to think about." 

"I think what’s so fun about Nike is that I get to wear stuff that I want to wear, I get to pick out my own outfits," she continued, noting the difference between the high-fashion world and events with her young fans in L.A. — which she called "the dopest guys and the dopest girls with the sickest style." Her energy while answering questions in front of the packed house seemed to back up her enthusiasm for the brand. She charmed the pants off the crowd during the Q&A, discussing the intimidation she felt about re-creating the iconic Fawcett image and her preference for waffles over pancakes — all while accidentally cursing, laughing and trying to maintain her balance on the broken chair she was given to sit on.

After the session was over, she posed for selfies with fans and hugged almost every member of the media, introducing herself with an energetic smile, "Hi! I'm Bella! How are you?" In between interviews, she was seen sneaking donuts from the "Cortez" donut wall, which was catered alongside "Moon Dust" lattes and Fiji Water.

She added of the crowd, "Everybody that comes to these Nike events are so dope — they just like the culture and the sports and cool shit. [At these events], I get to be myself and be free." 

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