Zayn Malik’s Supermodel ‘Girlfriend’s’ Family Fled Middle East As Refugees


Zayn Malik’s new rumoured girlfriend Gigi Hadid’s family have a pretty inspirational history.

Her family fled their native Palestine in 1948 when her dad Mohamed was two months old, during a violent period when the country partly transitioned into Israel.

They packed their belongings onto a donkey and travelled for two days from Nazareth to Damascus, Syria, The Sun reported.

GettyGigi and Mohamed - Credit: Getty

They realised if they went back to Palestine they wouldn’t have a home – Mohamed’s dad Anwar was one of the victims of the Nakba, where about 700,000 Palestinians were either banished or fled themselves, and the family had been expelled.

Mohamed told The Sun:

My mother loaded our possessions on a donkey and walked to Damascus. She thought my father was dead. We lived in Syria for 18 months. My mother checked with the Red Cross, but couldn’t find any trace of my father. Finally my uncle found us and told her my father was alive, and we were reunited.

Gigi’s granddad Anwar worked for the U.S. government broadcaster Voice of America in Damascus, as a translator. They eventually managed to move to America, living in Washington.

His son Mohamad grew up to be very successful businessman, he moved from selling classic cars to owning several Ritz-Carlton hotels, eventually netting himself an estimated £60million fortune.


He moved to Malibu in 1994 with his Dutch model wife Yolanda van den Herik, where they raised their kids – including Gigi – in a £13million mansion complete with cinema, pool and gym.

Gigi began modelling at the age of two, working for Baby Guess. Then in 2011 she signed up to IMG Models, before moving to New York when she graduated school to begin her career as a model.

At 20 she now has a load of celebrity friends, and has featured in Teen Vogue, Grazia, Elle and Vogue, as well as working New York Fashion Week for Desigual, Chanel and Victoria’s Secret – earning an estimated £1million fortune.

But despite the comfortable life she’s had since her family fled the Middle East, she remains humble, and retains her dad’s work ethic.

She recently said:

I get through life by working hard and being nice.

Although we were very blessed, my parents never wanted us to believe we didn’t have to work. They didn’t want us to think that our situation would get us through life.