Halima Aden is on a roll. Ever since making history as the first hijab-wearing model to walk the runway, making her debut at the Yeezy Season 5 show, the Somali-American beauty went on to walk for Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti during Milan Fashion Week, star on the cover of Vogue Arabia’s June issue, as well as land campaigns with American Eagle and The Modist. Now, the 19-year-old has another accolade to add to her list of fashion ventures. Aden, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, has been tapped by Nike to star in its new Air Max 97 sneaker campaign to celebrate 20 years of the classic footwear. She joins the ranks of Bella Hadid and Serena Williams as a spokesperson for the sportswear brand. The campaign comes as Nike prepares to launch the Pro Hijab, a high-performance athletic hijab, early next year.
For the campaign images, which she teased on her Instagram page, the model was photographed on a go-kart and inside a baseball batting cage sporting a Nike sweatshirt, and a pair of black leggings peeking out from beneath a grey, high-slit skirt. The Air Max 97’s completed the outfit.
“There’s always room for improvement. My life philosophy is: if I did good yesterday, I could do better today. Even with these shoes, Nike is not thinking for the customers today, they’re keeping in mind the customers 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 60 years from now,” she captioned the photographs. “What is that brand going to be remembered for? I’m excited to share with you these images created for @NikeSportswear.”
The former Miss Minnesota USA contestant, who signed to IMG Models earlier this year, spoke about the need for better representation in fashion in an interview with Vogue Arabia in May. “I never thought I’d be a model,” she says. “I’m stunned to see how many people this affects. Hearing from women, young girls especially – even my little cousin – saying, ‘Thank you, for once I have someone I can relate to.’ That’s not something I had. I never saw a veiled model in magazines or on TV.” Now, her presence in campaigns and on the international runway is redefining the fashion industry with a greater scope of diversity.