Image Credit: Sports Illustrated
Model Halima Aden makes history with Sports Illustrated Swimsuit as the first Muslim model to wear a hijab and burkini for the shoot.
The Somali-American model dons custom-made burkinis designed by Cynthia Rowley and No Ka’Oi and looks absolutely amazing. Born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp until the age of seven, the location of the Sports Illustrated shoot bears much significance to the model and beauty advocate. The SI team had the idea to shoot her rookie Swimsuit spread in her birth country at Watamu Beach. During her shoot, Aden couldn’t help but to express her feelings of excitement and gratitude about being back in Kenya. “I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this country, was in a refugee camp. So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya—I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.” In shots captured by photographer Yu Tsai, the Kenya-born, US-bred model is stunning, posing on the shore and alongside the water of Watamu Beach.
Image Credit: NBC
Aden is no stranger to firsts and breaking records and forging her own path to make sure that young girls and women feel represented when they see her. “Growing up in the United States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” she shared with SI. The IMG signee made headlines three years ago at the age of 19 when she was the first contestant to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant, in which she was also a semi-finalist. Aden’s star rose quickly from that moment, leading to being signed with IMG Models, gaining much support and success as an international model, and working to redefine the old-fashioned standards and images of beauty.
SI Swimsuit strives to “continue to spread the message that whether you are wearing one-piece, two-piece, or a burkini, you are the pilot of your own beauty.” Editor MJ Day added to the conversation surrounding beauty and expressed words of admiration for Aden in choosing her for being a part of the SI shoot: “We believe beauty knows no boundaries. I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with Unicef as an ambassador. She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. We both believe that the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective. We both know that women are so often perceived to be one way or one thing based on how they look or what they wear. Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.”
Image Credit: NBC
From walking Fashion Week runways to landing magazine covers to being featured in beauty campaigns to advocating for the representation of beauty outside of the traditional perspective, Aden is definitely making a strong case that there is more than enough space for modest Muslim women to exist and thrive in the fashion industry. Staying true to her messaging surrounding her career and the moves that she makes within the industry, Halima Aden charges us all to not be afraid to be the first. A message for us all in being the necessary changes in the world that we wish to see!
It is always amazing to see figures in the industry using their platforms to uplift not only their adjacent communities but also the world.
Video Credit: Sports Illustrated
Be sure to check out Halima in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue, set to hit newsstands on May 8.
& remember these gems: be the pilot of your own beauty and don't be afraid to be the first!
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