Caption: Halima Aden poses for the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition, making history as the first to wear a hijab and burkini. (Yu Tsai / Sl Swimsuit)
The 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition will be a historical issue as Somali-American supermodel Halima Aden will be the first to wear a hijab and burkini for the issue. This adds more highbrow experience to her gilded resume.
The supermodel took to Instagram, expressing her excitement of her accomplishment with Sports Illustrated, sporting a vibrant blue and turquoise burkini and hijab; she left her followers with words of encouragement.
“Don’t change yourself … Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me,” Aden stated. “It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings … can stand together and be celebrated.”
Aden was born in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya and migrated to the United States when she was seven years old. She came on the public sphere when she competed for the Miss Minnesota pageant in 2016. Since then, she has strutted the runways of New York Fashion Week as a model for Kanye West’s “Yeezy” collection, graced the cover of British Vogue, Glamour, Allure, Teen Vogue, and CR Fashion Book.
The supermodel had her photo shoot on Watamu Beach, in Kenya. She has recently been a part of the first hijabi cover for Vouge Arabia alongside Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan. Aden also is an ambassador for UNICEF.
In recent years, fashion and clothing companies have been considering the needs of their Muslim customers more and more. In 2014, Muslim consumers spent $230 billion. Stores like H&M and Gucci have been focusing more on “modest culture.”
SI swimsuit has been working to be more inclusive in recent years; one could recall their 2016 Swimsuit edition with plus sized model Ashley Graham.
“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” said SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day. “I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with UNICEF as an ambassador. She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”