Hailey Baldwin: ‘Fame is my family business’

She's part of the Baldwin dynasty and counts Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid among her best friends. But Hailey Baldwin is determined to stand on her own two feet...


by Hannah Flint |
Published on

In 2016, it seems the vital ingredients for a successful model are: an A-list surname, a legion of fans on social media and a #squad of famous friends.

For proof, look no further than Kendall, Gigi and Bella Hadid or Lily Rose Depp, who recently became the face of Chanel’s newest fragrance aged just 17.

The latest? Alec Baldwin’s 19-year-old niece Hailey, who last month flew to London for a series of appearances during London Fashion Week, jetted to Milan to walk in the Dolce and Gabanna show, led a legion of fellow A-list offspring at the label’s after party and headed to Paris to party with her close friends Kendall and Gigi during the French capital’s take on Fashion Month. All broadcasted, of course, to her 7.8 million Instagram followers.

Her famous surname has undeniably fast-tracked her success (as well as a brief fling with Justin Bieber). Yet Hayley is determined to prove that there is more to her than her Hollywood heritage.

‘I want to do everything on my own without my name being a factor,’ she tells Grazia. ‘I try to keep myself separate from it.

‘Kids that already have a famous background are just following in their families’ footsteps. My dad [Stephen Baldwin] and all of his brothers have done this. This is my family business.’

It comes after criticism has repeatedly been levelled at the current crop of supermodels, especially Kendall and Gigi, who have been labelled ‘bitches of the moment’ (Stephanie Seymour) and not as ‘hungry’ for success as other models (Grace Coddington).

But Hailey is quick to brush off any such comments, adding: ‘I’m not trying to take away from models who have started from scratch and I really appreciate the girls who have had to move from another country and work really hard. I know it’s more difficult for them.’

We meet over tea at the Hotel Café Royal in London amid Hailey’s hectic Fashion Month schedule. Wearing a bomber jacket and her hair in tight French plaits, she’s remarkably fresh-faced and polite for someone who’s thriving on such little sleep. But then, that’s how she’s been brought up.

‘My dad has said to me that if he ever thought I was getting out of line, he would fly anywhere and drag me by my hair and make me move home,’ she says, laughing. ‘But my parents know I’m a good kid.’

Her entry into the fashion industry, she admits, has been cushioned by her friendships with other high profile models, who have offered advice and guidance as her career takes off. Is there any competition between them? ‘Girls are always a little bit competitive, but you have to make it a healthy thing.

‘We’re all doing the same thing, and one person is gonna get something cooler than the other. You've just got to recognise that this is what you do, and this is what she does, and be happy for people instead of focusing on negative energy.’

Her life with them is sleepovers in hotel rooms and catch-ups at fashion parties. It must be quite a change from her upbringing, which saw her home schooled so she could focus on her talent as a dancer.

‘I actually think that helped me become very mature for my age,’ says Hailey. ‘I didn’t turn out socially awkward, but I just missed out on the partying and all the boys and drama. It helped me skip past being childish.’

Up next is a collaboration with the shoe brand Public Desire, for which she ‘was really involved with the colours and the fit. I tapered shoes in, made things tighter, made straps shorter. They’ll be very versatile for a lot of people.’

It’s just one of a handful of designing projects so far, juggled alongside a busy diary of events, fashion campaigns, magazine covers and constant updates on social media. As she sips on her tea, I wonder how she’s coping with all of this aged just 19.

After a pause she says, ‘I was literally sitting on the plane yesterday, thinking I wish I could snap my fingers and go back in time to where I grew up, back at home with my parents, when things were more simple.

‘But this is the way life is right now, and I would never, ever, ever change it. I wouldn’t take it back for anything.’

Public Desire x Hailey Baldwin is available at www.publicdesire.com

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