Why Bella Hadid Is Done With Drinking
Nearly 1 in 5 adults are participating in Dry January this year up from 13% in 2021, and it's millennials who are mostly driving the growth, according to one survey. (By my own quick calculus, this checks out: Last January, Trump was President, we were dealing with an insurrection, and vaccines were still a few months away... how could we also give up alcohol?!) One such millennial giving it a go for the first time is Bella Hadid.
The model became co-founder and partner of Kin Euphorics, the non-alcoholic beverage with adaptogenic herbs, nootropics, and botanicals that's at the forefront of the sober curious movement, this past fall. But her reasons for cutting out drinking roughly six months ago go beyond her new gig.
Hadid had her first can of Kin in 2019 when she was at a low point. She was dealing with anxiety, suffering from brain fog due to her Lyme disease, and burnt out from working (and traveling) constantly, she shared on a recent Zoom call. Also on the call was Kin CEO and co-founder Jen Batchelor, who started the "functional beverage" brand in 2018 as an alternative to sugar-packed mocktails that didn't offer any wellness benefits. (Kin claims to help balance the body's response to stress and boost brainpower, to name a few.)
Rather than taking handfuls of supplements every morning, Batcher figured, why not put those same ingredients — like Reishi mushroom and rhodiola rosea — into a new category of drink that could replace the ritual and connection we associate with alcohol?
"There's no hard and fast rule saying that these ingredients don't belong in social experiences," Batchelor says. "I know most people have a misconception that euphoria, and what we're trying to do, is make people high. We're trying to help you get high on your own supply, tapping inner sources of energy and nurturing your brain through incredible ingredients," she adds.
Hadid started by swapping Kin Spritz (infused with notes of ginger, bitters, and citrus) out for her morning coffee or matcha to get the same energy boost without the anxiety that came with it, she says. But it was the brand's Lightwave, a calming, stress-relieving alternative to an evening glass of wine (with sparking notes of lavender, vanilla, and passionflower) — that helped her to cut out drinking.
"I have done my fair share of drinking. I loved alcohol and it got to the point where even I started to, you know, cancel nights out that I felt like I wouldn't be able to control myself," she explains, adding that once brain scans from her doctor (one of Kin's medical advisors) showed her the effects of alcohol on her brain, it became "a lot harder to pick up the glass."
For Hadid, Lightwave was a welcome replacement, acting as a social lubricant without the hangover.
"I drink this when I have crippling anxiety and I can't leave my house or when I'm not gonna drink alcohol but still want to loosen up and be able to speak to people and socialize," she explains. Both drinks have also helped relieve stress-related insomnia, Hadid says. "It doesn't put you slap on your butt, asleep for 15 hours, but it does really calm your brain, your nervous system, and those late-night thoughts. I drink it before bed and I sleep like a baby," Hadid says.
"It's kind of that moment where I have my ritual, where I'm able to just kind of be with myself. I don't take sleeping pills anymore. When I was flying so much, that was kind of the only way I would be able to not be jet-lagged. But now I really have something holistic and it's doing something for my body every day," she explains.
While there are no conclusive clinical studies that have evaluated Kin's claims, Kin Spritz contains GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid), a naturally occurring amino acid that has a calming effect on the brain and has become a popular supplement in recent years for its ability to reduce stress and potentially treat insomnia. Lightwave contains L-Theanine — an amino acid found primarily in green and black tea and some mushrooms — another popular supplement that some research shows may help ease stress and anxiety. "I was already taking both of those things in the mornings before I would start my day for my anxiety to calm my nervous system," Hadid adds.
While this will be Hadid's first Dry January, she's mostly cut out alcohol since mid-2021 — and doesn't see herself going back.
"I don't feel the need because I know how it will affect me at 3 in the morning when I wake up with horrible anxiety thinking about that one thing I said five years ago when I graduated high school," she says. "There's just this never-ending effect of, essentially, you know, pain and stress over those few drinks that didn't really do much, you know?"