Joann van den Herik: Gigi and Bella Hadid's body positive plus-size model cousin

Model sisters Bella and Gigi Hadid are two of the most famous women in the world right now. 

But less well-known is their Dutch cousin, 18-year-old Joann van den Herik. 

The daughter of one of Yolanda Hadid’s siblings is a plus-size model (she’s just signed with the agency 12+ Model Management) and has gained a sizeable Instagram following for her body positive posts.

Van den Herik has explained that she used to hate “showing her fat rolls” and was “so insecure because everywhere she looked or went people told her that she was too ‘fat’, too ‘ugly’, that she was ‘unhealthy’ and that she needed to lose weight.”

But she now seems to have found a healthy attitude and developed a loving relationship with her body and aims to inspire others to do the same. 

“Make yourself happy,” she says. “Don’t care about the opinions of others because they’re not you and they will never be. Try to love yourself more every day. Start by wearing crop tops while you feel you have a big belly, or wearing shorts while you hate your legs. 

“Start telling yourself everyday that YOU LOVE YOURSELF!”

Many of her followers have praised the model for being a body-positive role model, but others have criticised her because she’s “not even plus sized.”

Whether she is or isn’t, Van den Herik is celebrating curves.

“Who decided that curves aren’t beautiful?” she asks. “Who decided you can’t loveeeee your stretchmarks, fat rolls and big legs? SO I’LL MAKE MY OWN DECISION!” 

The model went on to explain that she tries to compliment herself on each part of her body every day, seeing stretch marks as tiger stripes and fat on her legs as a mermaid tail. 

“When you feel good, healthy and happy, why does it matter what other people think or look like?” she asks. “The only person who can make you love your body is YOU. So try and see things positive instead of negative, it makes a big difference already.”

Many people have pointed out Van den Herik’s resemblance to her famous model cousins, but she seems to be carving out her own niche by establishing herself as a self-love campaigner.

“Nowadays, people make it feel like it’s a shame to be fat and that if you’re not a size 0, you shouldn’t show your body,” she says. “F* them!!! Show your body, love your body, embrace your body no matter what size you are. Your body loves YOU, so love it back.”

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