Champagne and cake with ‘It’ girl Gigi Hadid
It’s three days before Gigi Hadid’s birthday. It’s a beautiful April afternoon in Los Angeles and she is on a couch, barefoot, acting like a typical 20-year-old, smartphone in hand, scrolling away on Instagram, chattering away cheerfully.
But that’s where typical ends. Surrounding Gigi are members of what she calls her “glam fam,” retouching her hair and makeup for our interview. And waiting for her pretty ring-covered fingers to post Instagram updates? 17.7 million followers.
The supermodel and social media superstar—who bagged her first campaign for Baby Guess as a two-year-old and has been landing magazine cover after magazine cover and runway show after runway show (Miu Miu, Chanel, Giambattista Valli, Versace, Balmain, DVF, Jeremy Scott, Anna Sui, Victoria’s Secret and more)—hasn’t just been rocking the fashion world.
Gigi, who has been seen on TV via “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” with the rest of her family, has likewise made successful appearances on the TV shows “MasterChef,” “Lip Sync Battle,” and most recently, “The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon.”
She’s also starred in a number of music videos including Taylor Swift’s “Bad Blood” and her boyfriend Zayn Malik’s “Pillowtalk.”
Even her campaigns go beyond fashion, Gigi becoming the face not just of brands like Tom Ford, Balmain, Versace, Max Mara and Maybelline, but also BMW and Evian.
That day, we were in LA’s Fashion District, at APEX Photo Studio, for Gigi’s Penshoppe campaign shoot.
“I’ve always wanted an opportunity to have something out in the Philippines… I just want to be able to make fans over there excited… I wanted to do it with a brand that I love and that is genuine to my style. I just think that it’s so easy to not only wear but also be a spokesperson for a brand when you genuinely love the clothes,” Gigi pointed out.
Jeff Bascon, Penshoppe brand director, said: “Gigi is an authentic girl. Aside from the fact that she looks amazingly beautiful, she happens to have a great sense of style, as well. The clothes look great on her, she’s very fluid in front of the camera, she moves really well. No wonder she’s one of the top models of today.”
We watched Gigi in action, wearing pieces from Penshoppe’s new DenimLab collection due in stores this month. In the background, music played, songs from Gigi’s own playlist that included Shawn Hook’s “Sound of Your Heart,” Andra Day’s “Rise Up” and Too Short’s “Money On The Floor.”
“There you go! Beautiful!” Yu Tsai shouted from behind the camera.
The wind blowing in her hair, her graceful movements and her intense gaze focused on the lens, Gigi looked like a music video come to life.
Yu Tsai, photographer and “Asia’s Next Top Model” creative director, and Gigi’s longtime friend, said: “I’ve known her since she was 14, we kinda grew together in this industry. I knew then she was going to be a megastar. I knew she would be the person she is today. I don’t think she changed, I think she grew into who she’s supposed to be. Gigi is effortlessly beautiful. She’s a chameleon.”
Gigi was genuinely excited about the campaign, so excited that she wanted to Snapchat a video from the shoot, something that sent Team Penshoppe huddling in one corner of the studio, wondering if it was too early to break the news to the brand’s fans.
A compromise was reached and Gigi posted a snap of her signing Instax photos, with the caption “hint hint ;)” and three Philippine flag emojis.
Penshoppe officially announced Gigi as its newest brand ambassador earlier this week at the launch of the PowerStretch jeans, which Gigi can be seen wearing in the campaign photos. Fans took to Twitter to express their excitement over the news.
“P***a Gigi Hadid is nailing the new Penshoppe campaign! Finally, complete na ang GiCake,” one fan tweeted, referring to Cara Delevingne and Kendall Jenner who, along with Gigi and models Lucky Blue Smith and Sean O’Pry, and Asian superstars Sandara Park and Mario Maurer, make up Penshoppe’s roster of endorsers.
But at the shoot, a different kind of cake: two delicious birthday cakes from Sweet Lady Jane Bakery and bottles of champagne, a surprise for Gigi and for Penshoppe product manager Brandon Liu who was also celebrating his birthday that week.
“Oh my God, Happy Birthday!” Gigi greeted Brandon warmly, giving him a big hug before the two blew out the candles on their cakes.
That day, we saw two Gigis: the supermodel in front of the camera, and the fun-loving, warm girl away from it, the one who enjoyed playing on the studio swing so much that she posted on Snapchat “brb need a swing in my house”; who laughed it off when she almost fell, even telling the video guy, “Did you get it? You got me falling off? We have to put that in the video!”; who ate a chicken leg from craft services with her hands; who danced with Yu Tsai between shots; and who doled out hugs generously.
Yu Tsai said, “At the end of the day, Gigi is this cool girl who loves her family so much, she doesn’t let her stardom affect her. She’s the same girl I’ve known when she was 14, maybe even truer.”
Fans can expect more from Penshoppe this year. Jeff said, “We’re excited about the lineup of collections, global trends tweaked to suit our market. Penshoppe is now present in other territories: Indonesia, Cambodia, Vietnam and the Middle East region, with more coming. Always expect the unexpected. Penshoppe is just getting started.”
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