Model Halima Aden is once again breaking down barriers. She’s already covered magazines and graced the runways of Max Mara, LaQuan Smith and Christian Cowan. And Aden just marked another milestone as the first hijab-wearing model featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue. The Yu Tsai-led photoshoot was held in Kenya where Aden was born into a refugee camp. Wearing custom designed burkinis (one from No Ka’Oi, the other Cynthia Rowley), Aden saw the photoshoot as an opportunity to represent the Somali, Muslim and refugee communities.
“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.”
Sports Illustrated featured Aden in order to share her incredible story and encourage inclusivity. “Having Halima as a part of SI Swimsuit is yet another example of the range and scope of the type of beauty that exists. Her participation and inclusion further highlights the brand’s commitment and belief in supporting women to own who they are and what makes them unique and ultimately reaffirms what our messaging has been, that YOU are worthy,” said MJ Day, editor of SI Swimsuit.
Mark your calendars for May 8 to grab a copy of the groundbreaking issue.