Halima Aden Stuns As Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model
We absolutely MUST celebrate the Black Girl Magic of Halima Aden who was the first model to wear a hijab on the cover of VOGUE and is now making history again as the first model to wear both hijab and burkini for Sports Illustrated’s annual Swimsuit issue.
Aden is Somali-American, but was born at the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, where she and her family lived until she was seven. SI actually brought her back to Kenya to Watamu Beach to shoot with Yu Tsai for the issue.
“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Halima said during her shoot. “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.”
Halima — she goes by just her first name on Instagram — rose to stardom at 19 after becoming the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Her grace and beauty has propelled her to great success since signing with IMG models
“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.”
“We bonded immediately over the idea of her participating in this year’s issue” MJ continued. “We both believe 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.”
In a press release Aden also said she hoped her SI appearance will open doors for other Muslim women:
“SI Swimsuit has been at the forefront of changing the narrative and conversation on social issues and preconceived notions. I’m hoping this specific feature will open doors up for my Somali community, Muslim community, refugee community and any other community that can relate to being different,” said Aden. “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,” continues Aden. “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.”
We LOVE it! We’re all for diversity and celebrating our differences.
SI Swimsuit hits newsstands on May 8.
Hit the flip for more great looks from Halima.