Halima Aden continues to break down barriers. The Muslim supermodel became the first Miss Minnesota USA contestant to wear a hijab and burkini en route to the semifinals, and now she will be the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue as a member of the 2019 rookie class.
Aden grew up in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the United States at age 7. She is a Somali-American.
“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Halima said, via Sports Illustrated. “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.”
Since breaking onto the scene as an international model signed to IMG models, Halima has walked the runway for New York Fashion Week and landed the cover of British Vogue.
“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” said SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day. “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. When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”
For more photos of Halima, check out the pictures below and be sure to head on over to Instagram and click follow to join the growing list of just over 878,000 fans who can’t wait to see her next move.
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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 & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.