At just 21 years old, Halima Aden has made history as the first Sports Illustrated swimsuit model to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine. While many people have applauded Aden for her decision to celebrate her muslim religion and culture, Aden made clear that she is sending a very specific message to her community and the world.
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.
It’s not the first time Aden has made history. In 2016, she became the first woman to wear a hijab at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist. She was only 19. From pageants to magazine covers, one thing is clear, Aden is proud of her heritage and utilizes her platform as a means to encourage women like her. The Somali-American model was born in Kenya. For her Sports Illustrated shoot, Aden traveled back to Kenya. A full-circle moment, indeed.
“I keep thinking to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp……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.” Aden shared with Sports Illustrated.
As we continue to celebrate and embrace women, we take pride in recognizing that celebration must be inclusive of all women. Women deserve to see models, actresses, politicians who share the many cultures that we all represent.
Congratulations to Halima on making history. We look forward to seeing more models like her in the near future.
Photographer Credit @yutsai88 for Sports Illustrated