So, the other night I'm on the couch, done with dinner, Netflix, and chilling (alone). I start flipping though my current favourite portal into the lives of others, Instagram Stories, and stumble upon model extraordinaire, 23-year-old Gigi Hadid's Instagram Live.
She's somewhere not so glamorous. It's not Cannes or backstage at some fashion week; she's in Bangladesh with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) visiting various centers providing assistance to refugees, and parents and children in poor health.
Listening to her talk with such passion and conviction was truly thrilling. I was seriously very impressed with her.
Not because I wasn't before, but it was truly refreshing to see such a huge celebrity, particularly a young celebrity like Gigi, with a massive following on social media using her influence (42.7 million followers on Instagram) to reach millions of potential do-gooders.
(And not just punting products for big brands)
Jamtoli Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Population: 45,470 (as of 21 Jun 2018). Across all the camps, 1.3 million people currently require humanitarian assistance, more than half of them are children. From January-July of 2018, UNICEF has enrolled 91,929 refugee children in emergency non-formal education, trained 2,762 teachers to support improved learning for refugee children, provided 146,670 refugee and host community children with psychosocial activities and/or Gender-Based Violence services, & have reached over 900 thousand people with oral cholera vaccines, primary healthcare services in UNICEF-supported facilities, and with the Penta 3 vaccine, protecting against life-threatening illnesses such as diphtheria and pertussis. Link in my bio to learn more ???? @unicefusa @unicefbangladesh #CHILDRENUPROOTED
Local celebrities like Nomzamo Mbatha and Bonang have been known for their philanthropic efforts, investing money in education and contributing to other charitable initiatives over the years. While international celebrities like Angelina Jolie and Priyanka Chopra have been prominent advocates for refugees and for UNICEF over the years, using their positioning and voice to bring awareness.
Mam'Rosie was named Shoprite's Woman of the The Year in 2011. This year out of 75 000 entries WORLDWIDE, she has been nominated in The prestigious 'CNN Heroes' ... She runs Baphumelele Children's Home for orphaned HIV/AIDS kids, an EduCareCentre, Hospice Home as well as a Child-headed Homes Programme (which is so dear to my heart) I fought back so many emotions today. Being reminded of the path that God has walked me through as well as where He has placed me. Raising a child born with HIV/AIDS along with my grandmother was no easy feat but seeing her grow and become a young adult is honestly God's miracle. So today, I was blessed. By Mam'Rosie's LOVE, LIGHT, SPIRIT and HUMANITY. Thank you to Shoprite for being part of this journey. #YellowPacketChallenge
And nineties supermodel, Christy Turlington has over the years been one of the most prominent models involved in various charities and even made her directorial debut with the film, No Woman No Cry, which highlights maternity mortality projects around the world.
But since then, we haven't seen a lot of young models use their influence when it comes to charitable initiatives in the way Gigi is doing.
This week, French fashion editor Carine Roitfeld has also brought UNICEF to the frontlines of fashion as she just featured Gigi Hadid, whose father was a refugee, and Halima Aden, who is a Somali refugee living in the U.S., according to Fashionista.com, on two separate covers for her high fashion publication, CR Fashion Book.
The two models pose in UNICEF t-shirts styled with Calvin Klein utility jackets.
Revealing CR Fashion Book Issue 13. This fall @gigihadid and @halima, who both made their cover debuts on CR, return to support @UNICEFusa. Tap link in bio to donate to the important cause as well as to pre-order your copy of the issue, which hits newsstands Sept 13, 2018. #CR13 Photographed by Pieter Hugo Styled by @carineroitfeld Makeup by Kanako Takase Hair by @ward_hair Manicure @nailsbymei Casting @evelienjoos
As I return from my first mission for @UNICEFUSA, to the Rohingya Refugee Camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, I am honored and excited to share my newest @crfashionbook cover story, dedicated to spreading awareness about the work of @unicef worldwide, alongside the newest UNICEF AMBASSADOR, my friend & inspiration @halima, who is living proof of the way your support of this amazing organization can really change the lives of children all over the world. With my father and his family coming to the United States as refugees, like Halima and her family, UNICEF’s work is very close to our hearts, and together we have set up a CrowdRise Fundraiser w/ CR: link in bio to donate to help the children affected by ongoing conflict and natural disasters around the world. Thank you @carineroitfeld, our fashion fairy godmother, for your generosity with this project, we love you. ?????????? For this issue, I interviewed Somalian Refugee, activist, and remarkable human Hamdia Ahmed , who benefitted from the support of UNICEF during her time in a Refugee Camp in Kenya- I can’t wait for you to read her story! X #childrenuprooted #childrenfirst
Gigi and Halima have also created their very own CrowdRise fund to raise money for the UNICEF. Donate here.
So who is the next Angelina Jolie in terms of humanitarian efforts? Whether it's Gigi or another model, I'm happy to see young influential people using their platforms to advance the needs of others.