Meet the Muslim model making Sports Illustrated Swimsuit history in a burkini
Halima Aden, 21, is breaking boundaries in the annual Swimsuit edition – after being the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
Somali-American model Halima Aden has made history by becoming the first model to grace the pages of Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue in a headscarf and burkini.
The annual issue usually features models in bikinis so this upcoming May edition has taken a decidedly more modest turn.
The 21-year-old was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp and lived there till the age of seven, before moving to the US. For the shoot, Aden returned to Kenya – specifically Watamu Beach – where she was photographed by Yu Tsai.
Aden opened up about the experience in the magazine’s accompanying interview. “I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp. So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya – I don’t think that’s a story anybody could make up.”
SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day said: “We believe beauty knows no boundaries.... [Aden] is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only inside but outside.”
This isn’t the first time Aden is making waves – she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant when she was just 19. She has also appeared on the cover of British Vogue and walked the runway during New York Fashion Week.