Kenyan born Halima Aden Makes History As First Model To Wear Hijab and Burkini In Sports Illustrated


Kenyan born US-bred model Halima Aden has re-written history by becoming the first ever model to grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue wearing a hijab and burkini.

The Somali-American model was born at Kakuma refugee camp and relocated to the USA at the age of 7 where she grew up in St Louise and Minnesota.

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At the age of 19, Halima became the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and she made it to the semi-finals. After that, her modelling career opened up.

“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,” Aden said in a video by the Magazine. 

Sports Illustrated is usually known for its racy covers. Hamila, however, managed to set a different tone by maintaining her traditions and beliefs.

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The 21-year-old model and the magazine had to travel all the way to Kenya for the shoot to get her as comfortable as possible and make it nostalgic. The shoot took place in Watamu Beach.

“Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me,” she said in a post on Instagram. “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.”

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“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,” she said.

“Muslim girls should feel confident taking that step and doing so comfortably while wearing a burkini.”