The first hijabi model signed to a Danish modeling agency, Adan has since walked at Milan fashion week. She talks to Vogue Arabia about her experience.
“I was born and raised in Copenhagen, where I still live with my family. We live in a close-knit community with people from all over the world. My childhood was a very happy time. I grew up with four brothers and two sisters, so I always had people around me. My mother works in a retirement home and my siblings are in high school and university. I was good at math in school, so naturally, I thought about studying it, but I grew out of it.
I was discovered while waiting for a bus with my sister one afternoon. A man asked me if I was a model, or if I’d ever thought about it. He said my hijab wouldn’t be a problem. I was dismissive at first because I’d been approached by model scouts before, but they all wanted me to take off my hijab. My sister convinced me to take his card and hear him out.
My first runway show was for Blanche in Copenhagen. I was very excited and so nervous. I was also afraid – I had a lot of “what ifs” running through my mind while getting ready! But it turned out to be an amazing experience. I’ve since walked for Max Mara at Milan fashion week. I’d like to do more international runways – I’ve just enrolled in university but I want to continue my modeling career.
My family has been so supportive. My mother had some concerns, as mothers do, but I see her trust in me, as a woman who knows what she stands for, as the ultimate support. She and one of my sisters also wear the hijab. I started wearing the hijab when I was 12 because I wanted to look like my mother and aunts. I remember feeling like an adult in those first days. It has since become a part of me. It’s not my whole identity, but it’s an important part. I haven’t found it challenging to be a hijabi model – I’ve met some of the nicest people in this industry, and they respect my choice, as I would respect theirs, whatever it may be.
Originally published in the April 2019 issue of Vogue Arabia
I think most hijabis have met the same misconceptions. “Do you shower in it?” “Were you forced by your parents?” “Are you allowed to do this or that?” Sometimes I answer yes, I do shower in it! But ignorant comments are few and far between. I find that most people are afraid to ask questions and have a conversation about it, even if they are genuinely curious. All they know about Muslim people stems from the news or videos on the internet about women not having the same rights as men. And while that does happen, it’s far from the truth for most of us. The misconceptions are already changing – look at the incredible Halima Aden, or all the amazing hijabi vloggers and bloggers on social media. There are so many women doing incredible things, but I’ve always loved Iman. She’s been in this industry for decades and is still this elegant, strong woman.”