Kenyan born US bred model Halima Aden has rewritten history as the first model to grace the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue wearing a hijab and burkini.
The Somali-American model was born at Kakuma refugee camp and relocated to the USA at the age of 7 where she grew up in St Louise and Minnesota.
At the age of 19, Halima was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and she made it to the semi-finals. Doors opened up for her modelling career after that. She landed a British Vogue cover and New York Fashion week runways as well.
Halima scored the Sports Illustrated cover as she challenges the traditional definition of beauty. The magazine is known for its racy covers – one piece, two piece, but this time round, Halima set a different tone and agenda.
For her issue, the team had to travel to Kenya to get her as comfortable and make it nostalgic. The shoot took place in Watamu Beach. In a video shared by the magazine, Halima said ‘to grow up and live the American dream and come back to Kenya and shoot for Sports Illustrated in the most beautiful parts of Kenya – I don’t think that’s a story anybody could make up”
Halima is an activist advocating for uplifting young girls and women.
Images courtesy of Sports Illustrated