The Muslim model is making history yet again.
Halima Aden is no stranger to breaking barriers — and now, she has another first under her belt.
The Somali-American model and activist, 21, will appear as the first hijab-wearing woman in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue. In the 2019 edition, Aden poses in Kenya — where she was born into a refugee camp and lived until she was seven years old — in two custom burkinis by No Ka’Oi and Cynthia Rowley. It’s the first time the modest swim style has been portrayed in the magazine.
“Having Halima as a part of SI Swimsuit is yet another example of the range and scope of the type of beauty that exists,” MJ Day, editor of SI Swimsuit, said in a press release. “Her participation and inclusion further highlights the brands commitment and belief in supporting women to own who they are and what makes them unique and ultimately reaffirms what our messaging has been, that you are worthy.”
Aden herself gave a statement about the power of the glossy images. “This feature is proving that a fully covered hijab wearing model can confidently stand alongside a beautiful woman in a revealing bikini and together they can celebrate one another, cheer each other on, and champion each other’s successes,” she said.
“Young Muslim women need to know that there is a modest swimsuit option available to them so they can join the swim team, participate in swim class at school and go with their friends to the beach. Muslim girls should feel confident taking that step and doing so comfortably while wearing a burkini.”
Aden previously made headlines as the first hijab-wearing contestant in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, and quickly became the first hijabi signed to a major modeling agency. Since then, she’s graced the covers of Allure and Glamour and helped American Eagle launch a denim hijab, which sold out within a week. Aden has also appeared on the runways of Yeezy, Max Mara, Philipp Plein and more.
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