Yolanda H. Foster
Thank you for taking this time to get to know more about me…
I was born on January 11, 1964 and grew up in a very small farm town, Papendrecht, in Holland. At the age of 7, grief struck our little family when my father was killed in a car accident, which left my mom, my brother Leo, and myself behind. I so vividly remember that winter day of the funeral when my feet were nervously dangling off the church bench as I looked at my devastated mother, brother and family. In my little mind, I kept telling myself not to cry and to be strong. I truly believe that at that particular moment, an unexplainable power came over me as I consciously decided that I was going to be the provider for our family. My mother was incredible, both strong and loving. She learned to be an independent mom, widowed at the age of 30 and devoted her life to my brother and me. Strangely, she never mentioned my dad, so I cried myself to sleep at night and learned to deal with the loss of the most important person in my young life, my daddy.
From early on in life, I had a strong connection with horses. I was sent to Pony Camp the first summer after my dad died and I fell in love with a pony that had just gotten off the train from Russia. All of my love and pain, I shared with this animal. My mom ended up buying him for me. I still remember the day she brought him home--one of the best days of my life—and for sure, the best therapy she could have ever provided for me.
I worked endless hours at the barn, cleaning stalls, feeding and milking cows, riding horses and getting the hay off the land. It seemed like the perfect life until I started realizing that I needed money to become the professional equestrian that I dreamed of being. So I got my first weekend job at the local Chinese restaurant, washing dishes, hundreds of dishes and buckets of silverware. I would be so greasy and stinky by the end of the day that my mom would make me take off my clothes before entering the house and heading straight to the shower for a much-needed scrub. Two years later, I proudly took on a part-time job selling cheese and sandwich meats at the Hema, our local grocery store. Soon, I was promoted to cashier. That monthly check made me gladly juggle my hectic school, riding, and barn work schedule. I was so motivated. Nothing was ever too much. My energy was endless.
I unintentionally ended up doing a hair show for my girlfriend, Dorothy, in Amsterdam. Once I got there, I was asked by top Dutch designer, Frans Molenaar, to replace one of his models and do his runway show. So there I was, straight from barn onto the catwalk. I had never even worn makeup or high-heels or done anything so feminine or seen anything so fancy, but I guess I was a natural or maybe just a convincing copycat, because I can remember looking at the other girls, copying them, and walking the walk. That was the day I was discovered by the owner of Intermodels and a scout from Eileen Ford. Take Two. I am on the Runway in Paris. Then I am flying to Milan, Hamburg, and all kinds of exotic places on modeling jobs, making more money than I could have ever dreamed of. All I remember was my mom saying, “Just try it for the summer and then we’ll see…” The great thing was that I embarked on an incredible career. The sad thing was that my childhood was over. I never returned to live in Holland and, in a flash, my adult life had begun.
My dream of providing for my family while being financially independent had arrived. So there I went, off into the world, the world of fashion. Every piece of my moral and emotional foundation that my mother had given me, I used while on the road. I was disciplined, focused, and motivated. Nothing was going to stop me from being successful and succeeding in the industry in which I had landed. I lived in Paris, Milan, Hamburg, Sydney, Cape Town, Tokyo, New York and Los Angeles. It was a fantastic 15-year run. I made incredible money, and I was blessed with successful investments. I felt extremely accomplished from where I started at the farm but after all those years I was tired and extremely lonely from traveling the world and living out of a suitcase. I met Mohamed, fell in love, got engaged, got married, and inherited 2 stepdaughters, Marielle and Alana. I settled in Los Angeles and started the most important and life-changing chapter of my life. My incredible children, my angels from heaven… Gigi was born on April 23, 1994. Bella came on October 9, 1995. And our prince Anwar arrived on June 22, 1999. I broke my back at Anwar’s birth and I had a tough time recovering from a triple fusion and a terrible bout of depression. Unfortunately my marriage to Mohamed Hadid was short-lived. In 2001, I moved to Montecito and started a new life as a single mom with my three young children.
I needed to go back to my roots, far away from the fancy life I had landed in, and find a place of simplicity and comfort where I could find myself and heal the painful wounds of life. I got back on a horse and spent endless hours at the barn teaching my children, cleaning tack, riding, and going back to that quiet introvert place I found some twenty years earlier when I was dealing with the death of my father.
I was a tough nut to crack, being a single mom of three and integrating into a new community so far away from my family in Holland. Looking back, I am so proud of myself for coping and glad to have invested that crucial time into my children’s lives. It has given them such a strong foundation and made them the incredible human beings that they are today. In my heart, Montecito will always be my home and the place I spent the toughest but best years of my life with my children.
I remember Mohamed calling me at the end of the summer 2006 and saying, “If you don’t start making an effort to go out and meet people, you will be single for the rest of your life because nobody is going to ring the doorbell on East Valley Rd. and ask you out.” I knew he was right but after all those years, I had grown comfortable being on the kids’ schedule. Going to sleep at 8PM and waking up at 6AM was exactly what I wanted to do until I was at Mohamed’s house for my girlfriend’s birthday party and I looked into the most beautiful blue eyes I had ever seen in my life… The eyes belonged to the man I was supposed to meet. But unfortunately, he was with a girlfriend so as soon as I composed myself, I ran for the woods. Many weeks later on 11-10-2006, David came to Montecito and took me to Lucky’s Restaurant. We met at 7PM and talked until they closed the restaurant. Then we relocated to the bar at the Biltmore Hotel. When I got home at 3AM, I knew I had met someone that was going to be very significant in my life. To be honest, we never spent more then 2 or 3 days apart since then. David had only gotten divorced two years earlier and was never going to get married again. He raised his own five daughters and his two stepsons from his marriage to Linda. Falling in love with a Dutch girl with 3 kids under the age of 11 was not really what he had in mind, but he could not deny the strong connection we had from the moment we met. So I playfully started him on a 30-day commitment contract, which turned into a 3-month, then a 6-month, after a year we stopped counting, because at that point we could not imagine life without each other anymore.
After two years, we started building our house in Malibu. I used to drop my kids off at school in Santa Barbara, drive to Malibu, work at the construction site all day, and then rush back to have dinner with the kids. Running a job site with a hundred guys was probably the most challenging thing I have ever done in my life but my discipline and determination got me through those two rough years of juggling way too many responsibilities. David and I finally moved in together after 4 years of dating. On Christmas Eve 2010 we got engaged at Mohamed’s house and we got married the year after on 11-11-11.
My children are amazing and were a big part of David’s change of heart :-) They accepted, respected and developed a great relationship with him and what a blessing for them to see and experience me in such a happy and successful relationship! Blending families is always a challenge. Being a stepparent can be a tough gig but we have been blessed and are very proud of our big, unconventional family. I inherited 5 stepdaughters and 5 incredible sister-in-laws that have enriched my life in so many ways. As you can imagine, the holidays always make for fun events at the Hadid-Foster residence. It has been an incredible 6 years. I pinch myself quite often to make sure that this is all for real. My husband is the most extraordinary human being I have ever met and we have the love story I always dreamed of having. I take great pride and make great effort to be the best wife I can be and create a home that is the sanctuary he doesn’t want to be away from for very long. It took me a long time to figure out how to juggle wanting to be the best mommy and wife at the same time and not feel guilty for being away from either one of my obligations. Until about 3 months ago, I lived my life with absolutely no hesitation. I always say “You rest when you are dead and nobody has ever died from working too hard,” which I am now learning being diagnosed with Lyme disease is maybe not quite the truth. Being a mom is my greatest achievement and the best thing I have ever done in my life. I remain committed to raising three successful and good human beings and I am just now starting to pick the fruits of all of the time I put in while laying their foundations throughout the first 8 years of their lives. My job as a mom is never done but as I matured, I realized that my commitment to my man was equally as important.
My days are filled with juggling the kids, my husband, the house, the studio, my family, friends and our social commitments so no time for me which is probably going to be my downfall as I need to learn to say “No” and slow down. Anyway I still wish there were 8 days in week. I wake up at 6:30AM with my kids everyday, make breakfast, pack lunches, and drive them to school. Living in a big house might seem glamorous to most people but to someone like me that grew up in a very small 1-bathroom house, it sometimes gets overwhelming because I am a perfectionist. Running staff is stressful because some days you just don’t want to have to tell people what to do but with a big property like ours, there is always something that needs my attention. I am just about finished building and decorating my husband’s new studio and offices at Verve Records so once I complete this project, I will take a break from that profession for a while. I love to get into my office at home and focus on my new company “Hopelessly Romantic.” I have been fascinated and driven by romance my entire life and am excited to start exploring all kinds of ways to “Get Wise, Keep Your Romance Alive” and hopefully educate and inspire people on how to keep their love light ignited.
Thanks for checking in,