She has blazed a trail in recent years, become the first hijabi model to win campaigns and magazine covers around the world (including Vogue Arabia). And representing veiled woman is something that Halima Aden feels truly passionate about, revealing this week that she had her hijab written into her modeling contract to ensure she would never feel pressured to remove it.
“When I got that opportunity to sign with IMG models, I made sure I wasn’t conforming,” the 20-year-old told CBS in a video interview. “Our first-ever sit-down was four hours, and I did it on my own terms. Every time I go on set, I know that the people who are doing the shoot already know my requirements. They know what I can wear, they already have an understanding, and I’ve always felt safe.”
The Somali-American model rose to fame after donning traditional Muslim dress to compete in a US beauty pageant in 2016, after which she was swiftly snapped up by IMG. Aden has gone on to work with Nike, Alberta Ferretti, and Yeezy, to name just a few brands, and is a runway regular at fashion weeks. The star has also recently been announced as an ambassador to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), shortly after she returned to the Kenyan refugee camp in which she was born in collaboration with the organization.
Aden, who is the cover star of this month’s Teen Vogue US, has also opened up about representation in the fashion industry. “Growing up, I never saw magazine articles painting Muslim women in a positive light. In fact, if I saw an article about someone who looked like me, it would be the complete opposite,” she told the publication. Now, with her star firmly on the rise, we’re happy to say that’s certainly no longer the case.