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[Photos] Somalia's Hijab-wearing model: from refugee camp to U.S. runway

[Photos] Somalia's Hijab-wearing model: from refugee camp to U.S. runway

Somalia

Halima Aden is a 19-year-old Somali who currently enjoys respect in fashion and modeling circles in the United States.

In between her native Somalia and the United States, Halima has close ties to Kenya, where she was born and grew up.

She made history in 2016 as the first hijab-wearing contestant in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant, that feat and other engagements earned her a place on the cover of Vogue Arabia magazine in June 2017.

Every little girl looks up to her mom so much - that’s your first hero. Like for me it was a choice. I was the one asking my mom to give me the hijab and I wanted to resemble her and I wanted to fall in love with my religion.

Another feat was to follow closely, when she became the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of the top American women’s beauty magazine, Allure.

Halima donned Nike’s high-performance hijab on the cover of the publication with the caption: “This Is American Beauty”. Another top fashion mag, Galmour, in August announced that Halima was due on their September cover – the headline read: “It’s my job to open the door for others.”

Seven years at the time, Aden moved to the United States with her mother and was raised as a Muslim. She told the magazine that she started wearing the hijab at the age of eight by imitating her mother. “Every little girl looks up to her mom so much – that’s your first hero,” she said.

Addressing the issue of religion and fashion, she said: “Anything in life if it’s not your choice, it’s oppressive. So I’m not going to argue against that. But for the majority it’s a choice you know.

“Like for me it was a choice. I was the one asking my mom to give me the hijab and I wanted to resemble her and I wanted to fall in love with my religion,” she told Reuters news agency in an interview.

Along her responsibilities as a student at the St. Cloud State University, she is signed to international model management firm IMG Models and has walked in the Yeezy season five show at New York Fashion Week in early 2017.

“I have much more to offer than my physical appearance, and a hijab protects me against ‘You’re too skinny,’ ‘You’re too thick,’ ‘Look at her hips,’ ‘Look at her thigh gap.’ I don’t have to worry about that,” she said in an interview with Allure.

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