Kris Jenner may have laid claim to “momager” after trademarking the term in December — we’re taking TMZ’s word for it — but nothing will stop “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” alum Yolanda Hadid from breeding unofficial momagers on her own.
The term refers to a mother who closely oversees her child’s flourishing career, something former model Hadid has done for her daughters, Bella and Gigi, and son, Anwar, since they discovered their beauty could lead them to the runway. “Making a Model with Yolanda Hadid,” an eight-part series that premiered Thursday on Lifetime, adopts a maternal approach to creating challenges reminiscent of “America’s Next Top Model.” Set in New York, it follows six mother-daughter teams as they compete each week to win the daughter a contract with Hadid’s management company and the chance to be potentially repped by the prestigious IMG Models.
Hadid’s coaching tactics are rather gentle for reality TV. (Think: the opposite of Tyra Banks yelling at Tiffany Richardson.) With hushed tones and expressions that let you know she’s not mad, but disappointed, Hadid sets an example for fellow helicopter parents to follow.
Here are some ways, inspired by the show, to become a successful momager like our girl Yo.
Be a “protective mama bear,” as Hadid calls herself, but don’t be oblivious to your child’s flaws.
One of the best things about the beginning of any reality series is hearing the background of each contestant. While the stories here aren’t as tragic as the ones told on “Chopped,” they aren’t short on hyperbole. These moms love their daughters so much that they, in the words of Teresa Rooney, 14-year-old Makenzie’s mom, would wear rags to buy their daughters endless pairs of Nike sneakers. They love their daughters so much that they’re willing to live in a house with five other pairs as nutty as they are.
But if your 15-year-old daughter — named *cough* Lilyan *cough* — has a superiority complex, maybe don’t play along. You are the reasonable adult in the room, after all. If that same daughter says the words, “I don’t have girls that are friends, I have guys that are friends because I can’t deal with chicks,” you have a problem on your hands.
Listen, Hadid’s daughters are literal Victoria’s Secret Angels and she still told a room full of teenagers that Gigi and Bella are “nothing more or better than you are, so believe in that.”
Tell sheepish teenagers that you “need to see the tiger” in them.
Makenzie is the inspiration for this piece of advice. “I don’t want to put myself out there,” says the girl who willingly entered a competition series broadcast to the entire country. She has what her mom calls social anxiety, and this generally translates to her being awkward in front of the camera and incredibly rude to her mother. (Seriously, Rooney is being bullied.)
A montage of clips opens the “Making a Model” premiere, and at one point Hadid is seen narrowing her eyes at Makenzie while demanding to see the tiger in her. This presumably goes well, as Hadid doesn’t give bad advice. Would the show exist if she did? She later criticizes 13-year-old Athena for her blank stare in a photo: “I feel like you look indifferent. I’m not feeling your soul.”
She’s serious about this one.
Don’t let your kid grow up too fast.
The moms act as creative directors in the premiere. They had to choose an outfit for their daughters that best captured who they are, run around Times Square with a photographer and return in a half-hour with beautiful shots of their daughters. Each of the 13-year-old contestants, Athena and Breanna, are told to wear high heels, and Hadid isn’t happy about it.
“Remember, a 13-year-old in high heels?” Hadid tells Athena’s mom, Diana Katoanga. “It’s not age appropriate. I think it made her uncomfortable because she’s obviously not used to wearing high heels.”
Katoanga, an aspiring model with seven children, is having none of it. “She has more modeling experience than I do,” she says of Athena in a separate clip, “but I have more, you know, life skills than she does.”
What were you wearing at 13? High-top Converse sneakers? Yeah, same.
Tell everyone else they’re beautiful like you’re a member of One Direction.
Perhaps she got this from Zayn Malik, daughter Gigi’s current beau, but Hadid is all about telling people they’re beautiful. It’s actually quite endearing. After each contestant’s introduction, she also tells her colleagues where she could see the girl’s career heading: athletic commercials, fashion magazine covers and so on.
Your child will come to appreciate your positivity, even if you don’t have valuable connections to a Hadid sister. When Mikayla — who, at 16, is the oldest and nicest contestant — wins the challenge, she beams at Hadid. And it wasn’t because of the monetary prize.
“I think the hug was worth $5,000,” Mikayla says. “She gave me the envelope, and I was like, I like the hug more.”