Nineteen-year-old Halima Aden probably never imagined, as she was growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp, that she would one day be a world-class model. But she is, thanks to a series of fortunate events.
First, she made headlines in November 2016 when she competed in Minnesota’s Miss USA competition while wearing a hijab, and a burkini during the swimsuit portion of the contest.
Aden is a Somali-American who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp. She arrived in in Minnesota when she was six years old. Although she did not make the finals of the pageant, that loss clearly hasn’t hurt her career.
She was recently signed by international modeling agency IMG and has just done her first runway show at Kanye West’s Yeezy presentation.
“I didn’t really have modeling in mind,” Aden told Business of Fashion. “I wanted to spread a positive message about beauty and diversity, and to show other young Muslim women that there is room for them.”
Ivan Bart, president of IMG Models, says that although the agency has signed Muslim models in the past, Aden’s commitment to modest clothing and the hijab makes her truly unusual in the industry.
“We’ll see how the industry reacts to Halima and works with the restrictions or not,” he said. “It doesn’t negate the fact that we want to represent her. And it doesn’t negate the fact that already Carine Roitfeld has found her as appealing as we have.”
In fact, Aden will be featured in the next issue of CR Fashion Book, which will be on the stands in March of 2017.
“@carineroitfeld, thank you so much for taking me under your wing and giving me the opportunity of a lifetime!” Aden wrote in a February 15 Instagram post.
We expect to see a lot more of Halima Aden in the future, and we expect that she will continue making history in the world of modeling.