Hailey Baldwin Explains the Hollywood Church Scene

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Photo: Craig Barritt/Getty Images for ICP

On Monday night at the International Center of Photography Infinity Awards, we chatted with model, TV host, and flash-tattoo evangelist Hailey Baldwin. She just got her 19th permanent accessory over the weekend, which she was kind enough to reveal for us. Ironic, because when she was born, tattoos were illegal in New York City. We also asked about her churches, which are attended by the likes of her ex, Justin Bieber, Yvonne Orji, Tim Tebow, and the Kardashians.

I’m really interested in your tattoos. I was just recommending your tattoo artist to a friend —

JohnBoy.

I just got a new one. Like yesterday, two days ago. [She pulls down the left shoulder of her hot magenta top.]

It’s right here.

Oh, the little —

Heart. I got that one and I got one right here [points to right hip bone], but I can’t show it because I can’t pull up my dress, but it says 1996.

What made you get these two?

The heart was kind of aesthetic. I just think it looks cute. There’s no story behind it. I think the really little dainty tattoos are very, like, they’re very pretty on girls. And 1996 was the year I was born, so…

But why now?

I try to space out when I get my tattoos. It’s always been an idea of mine to get that. It’s just like when I decide when not to get it. I think now I’m going to chill out for a second on the tattoos because I’m running out of spots.

How many do you have?

Nineteen. They’re little ones, but I like all the little ones. I’m running out of spots to put little ones. And eventually when I have kids one day, I want to get my kids’ names and then I want to have the spots for that.

I never plan it. I plan it the night before and I’m like, I think this would look cute, and then I text JohnBoy: “I’m coming in.”

The little ones have made me rethink tattoos.

That’s what I would hope people would see when you see mine, when you see his work. That they would kind of rethink that it doesn’t have to always be like a big piece or big word. 

You found JohnBoy through Hillsong, right?

Yeah, he was going my church, that’s how I found him.

Do you still go there?

So does he.

I went once. I’ve gone to City Church a few times in L.A. You go there too, right?

Yeah, I do go there.

What is City Church like?

City Church is like, where I would bring someone who’s never been to church before, because it’s a Bible study more than it is a full church service, it’s much more relaxed. And I think sometimes walking straight into a Hillsong service can be a lot for someone.

It’s a lot.

It’s a lot. It’s a lot. It’s intense and it’s loud and it’s in your face. But I think — it’s not for everybody, it’s not easy. But I know the people that run it really well, they’ve become like my family, so that’s what I’ve chosen to go to Hillsong — I do go to City Church, yes.

I’m a little fascinated by all the celebrities that go to these churches. Is it the pastors?

Hillsong or City Church? City Church is [Seattle Seahawks chaplain] Judah Smith, who is amazing. He and his wife run it. And they’re from the church in Seattle. Carl [Lentz] is Hillsong and they’re best friends, so everybody is kind of interconnected. That whole pastor circuit, they’re all friends. So I just kind of know all of them.

What are you working on right now?

Well, I just wrapped the second season of the show that I’ve been doing called Drop the Mic and … just the same stuff. Doing shoots and trying to tick more things off the list of goals. And that’s pretty much it.

How far out do you plan your goals?

I don’t necessarily plan goals out by years, if that makes sense. So it’s like, “By next year I’ve done this.” I guess I do it a little bit. Last year I had hoped that by this year I’d have my first Vogue cover, which I did. I would try to at least set dates for things, because I feel like I’ll end up disappointed if that doesn’t happen.

Do you literally write them down?

I write them down on my phone. Every New Year’s.

This summer, do you have any big plans?

I’m just going to travel a bit. It’s time where I’ve got time off, which is really nice, and I’m just going to spend time with my family and my friends and jump around a little bit. I never really plan what I’m doing when I’m traveling somewhere. I just go places and see where our friends are going to be.

Hailey Baldwin Explains the Hollywood Church Scene