Somali-American Halima Aden is breaking boundaries in the fashion world. She proudly wore the hijab on the runway at the the recently held New York Fashion Week, and made waves last year when she wore her hijab while competing in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
The 19-year-old was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and moved to the USA when she was 6 years old. She grew up in St. Clound, Minnesota, which is home to the largest group of Somali-American community,
Photos of her at the Miss Minnesota pageant made waves, as the model refused to wear a bikini, and instead wore a burkini. She reached out to the pageant director and showed them pictures of Muslim women in burkinis and asked if she could wear something similar. The young model also has braces and isn’t one bit embarrassed about it.
“I signed with the top modeling agency in the WORLD and still wore my hijab as my crown.”
She also walked in Milan’s Fashion Week for designers Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara.
In an interview with Huffington Post, Aden says that she could have waited to see more women like her compete in pageants and in the fashion world, but that wasn’t happening. So she took matters into her own hands.
She has signed with modelling agency, IMG Models, which also represents supermodels like Gigi Hadid and Miranda Kerr.
She said that her competing will hopefully open doors for other girls. She wants to change the perception the media has that Muslim women who wear the hijab are always oppressed.
It’s a beauty contest and every race and demographic should be represented, she tells Huffington Post.
She has most recently appeared on the cover of the very prestigious CR Fashion book.
The president of IMG Models, Ivan Bart, said that by representing Halima, he hopes that the next 10-year-old girl wearing her hijab right now will feel included in the experience of fashion.
It is such an inspiration to see Aden bravely walk the runway in the best shows in the world, without compromising her identity.
“I signed with the top modelling agency in the WORLD and still wore my hijab as my crown,” she said in an Instagram post.
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