Halima Aden has rocked high-end runways around the world without compromising her modesty for love, fashion nor money. Maintaining her inspirational stance as a hijabi supermodel, she has just starred in her first Sports Illustrated swimwear shoot, in her hijab and a burkini.
AFP have reported that Halima’s spread in the magazine is set in Kenya – where she was born in a refugee camp and was raised there until she moved to America at the age of 7. In a video shared by the publication on social media, the Somali-American super model states, “Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab.”
Sports Illustrated often feature their chosen female star in rather risqué and racy attire, but have upheld Halima Aden’s modest and religious sentiments. They shared a picture of the young model in statement yellow earrings against a turquoise hijab and an electric blue burkini, a full-length swim suit.
Taking to Instagram to share the news of her feature in the American magazine, she captioned her photo, “Don’t change yourself… Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings... can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit and the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.”
Halima first caught media attention when she was the first female to compete in a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant, at the age of 19 – where she shut down stereotypes by making the semi-finals in 2016 – in full modest attire.
Now, at the age of 21, she has graced the covers of renowned fashion magazines including, British Vogue, Harpers Bazaar Arabia and PAPER, as well as walking the runway for top designers at New York Fashion Week. The hijabi model also became the first to be signed with IMG Models – with whom her contract allows for special requirements that are in line with her being able to stay true to her religion and hijab.
Stating in an interview with CBS News, she said, “When I got that opportunity to sign with IMG models, I made sure I wasn’t conforming. Our first-ever sit-down was four hours, and I did it on my own terms. Every time I go on set, I know that the people who are doing the shoot already know my requirements. They know what I can wear, they already have an understanding, and I’ve always felt safe.”
Understanding her significance and the fact that she is a role model for many young hijabi girls interested in fashion, Halima collaborated with modest online retailer, Modanisa on her own line of hijabs in April 2019.