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. 

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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)

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. 

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, 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.

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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. 

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