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Bella Hadid’s Mother Yolanda Defends Her After Nike Campaign Backlash

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Bella Hadid, a renowned American model, announced Tuesday she was fronting Nike’s latest campaign and social media backlash was virtually immediate. The younger sister of Gigi Hadid landed the mega deal with the sports brand and shared the photo on Instagram. In the photo, Bella stands at the foot of the billboard in New York City, displaying her slender body.

????so excited to announce that I am OFFICIALLY PART OF THE @NIKE FAMILY! More coming very soon ❤️????????

A photo posted by Bella Hadid (@bellahadid) on

Although the photo attracted more than 530,000 likes within minutes, others criticized the sports brand’s move to place Bella Hadid at the helm of their advert. People who are not on board with Nike’s decision point out that she doesn’t have a sports background. Among the critics is Olympic gold medalist Meryl Davis.

Meryl Davis called out Nike for using Bella Hadid in their newest ads instead of athletes. The 2014 Olympic ice dancing champion tweeted a photo collage of Bella Hadid, Aly Raisman and Jenner in response to Nike’s latest deal with Hadid on Tuesday.

The collage shows Hadid wearing a Nike crop top, Raisman posing in a grey hoodie and reality star Jenner wearing a Puma sports top from her advert deal with the brand. Speaking to reporters on Friday, Davis clarified that her intention was to support “diversified ideal of beauty” and not to offend Bella.

Following Davis Meryl’s tweet, Yolanda Hadid, the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star came to her daughter’s defense. During a recent interview with TMZ, Yolanda noted that Bella dreamt of becoming an Olympic equestrian, but had to call it quits when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease at the age of 15.

Bella Hadid

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Global Lyme Alliance

The mother of three went on to say that one does not have to be an athlete to pose in Nike wear. One side effect of the condition — which Bella’s mother Yolanda Hadid has also been battling — is cognitive impairment. Yolanda is open about her own Lyme condition struggle and has chronicled her path to recovery on social media.

Last year, Yolanda revealed that Bella and her younger brother Anwar Hadid were diagnosed with the tick-borne condition a few years ago and were making good progress. Back in January this year, Yolanda wrote a blog post about her daughter’s heartbreak when she was forced to give up horse riding.

Bella Hadid

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Global Lyme Alliance

Some of Bella’s fans also came forward to defend the 20-year-old model, saying she is actually is an athlete and her dreams of being part of the United State Olympic equestrian team at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games were dashed due to her condition.

Do you think models should avoid representing sportswear brands? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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