Halima Aden is a force to be reckoned with. A champion of female empowerment and inclusivity, the Somali-American model is responsible for shattering countless stereotypes. Now, she has announced her plans to enter the Miss Universe beauty pageant as the first-ever Miss Somalia.
Vogue Arabia’s Diversity-Editor-at-large, Aden took to social media over the weekend to state her wishes to be Somalia’s first representative in the international pageant. “All those other ‘firsts’ have prepared me for my true calling! I will be the first Miss Somalia on the stage of Miss Universe,” said Aden. The 23-year-old previously participated at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in 2017, making history as the first hijabi woman to do so.
The news follows Aden’s recent reflection on Instagram about her early career and her hijab journey. The model shared how past career experiences made her feel “uncomfortable”.
Openly admitting her regrets of not refusing certain shoots that didn’t follow her beliefs, Aden noted that she will “never again” take a job that requires her to change her hijab.
Following her honest reflections, Aden received many words of support and encouragement from adoring friends and fans across the world. Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut praised Aden for her candid thoughts while Aden revealed her Vogue Arabia April 2019 cover, alongside Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan, was her mother’s favorite, because “the hijab was visible”.
Elsewhere, Rihanna and fellow models Gigi and Bella Hadid, all shared how proud they were of Aden’s honest posts. “It is so important, as a hijabi or not, to self reflect and get back on track with what feels genuine,” wrote Gigi. “My sis Halima, you have inspired me since the day I met you and you continue to make me proud. Keep shining.”