CALIFORNIA, UNITED STATES: Malibu is experiencing a super bloom. From my vantage point atop The Surfrider Hotel, an exceptional show of flame orange poppies colour normally barren hillsides along the Pacific Coast Highway. The wildflowers indeed glow orange from miles away – and yet it’s hard to fathom just a few months ago this city was glowing the same hue as it was ravaged by wildfires. Homes were lost, lives were lost. Locals want to talk to you about the Woolsey Fire of 2018 as much as they do the Cauliflower pizza at the café at the end of the pier. But that’s the thing about hardship; like the Notre Dame Cathedral, like Marc Jacobs’ label – there’s always a rebuild. And with that, there’s always some small blooms.
We’re in town for ROXY’s launch of their SISTER collection – a collaboration between two-time longboard World Champion surfer Kelia Moniz and her best friend model Hailey Bieber. Blush pinks and soft greys decorate the swim-wear and lifestyle range (it’s much chicer and staple-friendly than you’d imagine a traditional surf wear brand). But it’s the message at the collections core that is important; a celebration of friendship and the bond between two women.
Amid those wondrous golden fields today, there’s a discerning buzz in the media surrounding the status of Bieber’s marriage. It’s sadly commonplace for the spotlight to throw the 22-year-old a curveball like this but it’s Moniz who a delicate Bieber turns to to sift through the madness. “It’s so difficult,” Bieber tells GRAZIA. “People will never understand what it feels like to have to go through such deeply challenging times and the entire world be trying to find out what’s happening behind closed doors.”
“Hailey lives under this extreme microscope,” adds Moniz. “The fact that she can live out her daily life and remain the same individual that she was through her young teens to being a married woman today is honestly one of the most beautiful things to see as a friend.”
Lots of people have asked me what Bieber is like in person. As the launch event gets underway at the seaside Little Beach House in Malibu, Bieber and Moniz are walking around together. The model is somewhat of a conundrum. I didn’t instantly see her sitting at our table – she’s keeps to her herself and is observant of those around her – but she’s a standout once you clock her. Her skin is super glowy, she’s smiley and true to every account ever, she’s super sweet. As she thanks the intimate white-sangria-fuelled crowd before her, I imagine what an incredibly unique existence it must be to be watched and filmed all the time.
Perhaps Moniz and Bieber are each other’s “rebuilders” as they navigate this crazy life – and the SISTER collection is the result that blossomed.
GRAZIA: Your friendship began with a bellyflop on a summer’s day in New York, how do you spend your summer days together now?
BIEBER: “Kelia and I have very similar personalities. We love a lot of the same things so I think it really depends what we’re feeling that day. We both love the sun, the beach, we also could be so happy in someone’s kitchen cooking food and playing music. She’s the best.”
MONIZ: “That was the funniest summer day. I had just started dating my husband and we went to this lake and there was water toys, diving boards and trampolines. I remember Hailey saying she could do a cartwheel off a diving board. She’s like, ‘Watch me, guys’ and she like, side-flopped into the water! I thought ‘Oh my god, this girl is so reckless, I love it.’ She texted my husband and I the next day and said ‘Guys, I’m walking a red carpet and the whole side of my body is black! [laughs].'”
GRAZIA: Women are at the forefront of a global movement – it’s the women’s movement of our generation – why do you think it’s so important for fashion brands – like ROXY – to reflect this notion in their messaging?
B: I just think anyone and everyone should be uplifting women in any way they can right now. It’s such a powerful time for women right now and I think the more people, brands, companies that can rise up and back us ladies, it only adds to the incredible uproar.
GRAZIA: Hailey, what’s something a reader might not know about the challenges of life in the spotlight?
B: It’s so difficult. People will never understand what it feels like to have to go through such deeply challenging times and the entire world be trying to find out what’s happening behind closed doors. People have little to no respect for your personal privacy.
GRAZIA: Do you talk to Kelia about these? What’s the best D+M you’ve had with her?
B: “Kelia is someone I trust and confide in. She has been for as long as we’ve been close. She’s someone I deeply trust.”
GRAZIA: Kelia, How would you describe your relationship with Hailey?
M: “She’s so smart, funny and witty. She’s so fast. I feel like she’s the little sister I never had. She’s a tom boy but she’s also really girly. We have so much fun. It’s funny because Hailey grew up in New York, she loves the ocean and the sunshine and just being at the beach so much. When we first started hanging out and travelling together, we’d go to the Bahamas. To see this little fashionista supermodel actually just go to the beach and enjoy it the same way I do was the most epic thing. We just have a cool, rad bond. Its’ the way all friendships should be. It’s not complicated.”
GRAZIA: We’re living in an age decorated by the digital influencer. What do you think is the future for influencers? Are we still going to care about Instagram in ten years?
B: “Honestly, I don’t know. I think people have created really cool careers for themselves from social media and, to me, it’s utilising what’s right at our fingertips. The world changes so fast that I’m sure there will be another successful take-over-the-world app such as Instagram in 10 years.
“Truth be told, I’m scared for what social media will be by the time my own kids are old enough to use it.”
GRAZIA: Who is the woman behind the personality we see on the runways and on Instagram?
B: “Oh man… I would like to believe I’m genuinely a normal woman! I obviously have a very abnormal life.
“I would hope if people really knew me they would recognise the sensitive spirit I really have, my heart for loving people runs really deep.”
“I was always really sensitive as a kid, deeply sensitive, and I went through a phase over the last three years or so where I just lost a lot of my sensitive self. I was very closed off and emotionally very dull. I would say only in the last six-to-eight months I’ve gotten that part of myself back and even gained a whole new level of sensitivity. I’ll cry at literally anything these days [laughs].”
GRAZIA: What change would you like to see in the world for that next generation of women?
B: “I would really love to see more women get treated on the same level of respect as men in the business and finance world. I’m so freaking excited and happy that so many amazing woman bosses are taking their rightful place in the business world, and I hope that just continues.”
M: “It’s just such a cool thing to see women nowadays just coming together. I would love to see that bond be a lot stronger. I would love for females to not feel scared to go after what they want and realise how much better life can be when you do that. Partner up with another girl and build each other up.”