Hijab-wearing model Halima Aden has been redefining traditional standards of beauty, diversifying the modelling industry and improving visibility for the underrepresented demographic of Muslim women.
Within weeks of signing with agency IMG Models, Aden was shot for the cover of Carine Roitfeld 's CR Fashion Book. She is also the first model to grace the covers of Vogue Arabia and Allure Magazine wearing a hijab and was tapped by teen outfitter American Eagle to introduce their denim hijab, starring in their Summer 2017 campaign wearing the piece. In 2018, she starred in covers for British Vogue and Teen Vogue.
Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, moving to St. Cloud, Minnesota at the age of seven. In 2016 she competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant — the first Somali-American to do so — and made it to the semi-finals. The Muslim model was also the first contestant in the pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition, and the first to forgo skimpy swimwear in favour of a burkini during the contest’s swimsuit round.
Her participation in the contest caught the attention of international media, and in 2017 she was signed to IMG Models. Despite only being 5’5”, she went on to make her catwalk debut during New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017 at Yeezy, and also walked for Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara in Milan.
In March 2019, Aden announced her collaboration with Modanisa to create a collection of 27 headpieces, including headscarves and turbans, to debut at Istanbul Modest Fashion Week. The same year, she was the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.