This has been a very difficult year in terms of the celebrities we have had to say goodbye to this year. Within days of each other we lost Carrie Fisher and her mother Debbie Reynolds. We want to end the year on a good note by continuing to recognize the woman who has been a fixture in the media and who has elevated herself to near icon status. This year’s woman of the Year is Jelena Noura Hadid aka “Gigi” Hadid.

I came along at a time when fashion was ready for me. – Gigi Hadid

She is an overnight success that has been 21 years in the making, first appearing in Baby Guess and then Guess Kids campaigns. What many may not realize is that Gigi retired from modeling for ten years to go back to school and take up horse riding. Two years ago she returned on the scene. Literally withing seconds she was snapped up by the likes of Tom Ford, Donatella Versace, BMW and Reebok. She has also recently launched a capsule collection with Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy x Gigi.

Having landed the aforementioned deals has turned out to be pretty lucrative for the “it” girl with Dutch/Palestinian roots. According to Forbes, she is one of the highest paid models for 2016 raking in over $9 million.

Everything has been roses for the supermodel. Her mother and Real Housewives of Beverly Hills cast member Yolanda Hadid suffers from a serious neurological disease. Hadid recently shared. “My mom has neurological Lyme disease, which means it’s spirochetes that are from bacteria that the tick has. The spirochetes are like little screws and kind of embed themselves in the brain tissue,” she explains. When the disease affects the nerves in the brain, it’s harder to detect because “it’s not in the bloodstream anymore. You have to do a special test for it.”

A big part of Hadid’s appeal is that she is relatable despite being a supermodel and having the resources that she has. Donatella Versace recognizes Hadid as this moment’s icon, an archetype of the modern age: “For me, she symbolizes a new generation of young women who are totally in control of their own destiny, women who will shape the 21st century on their own terms.”