The Somali-American model is making her mark on the fashion industry.
Halima Aden has amassed many “firsts” in her career as a hijab-wearing model. She made history by wearing a burkini in the Miss Minnesota pageant, and soon after became the first hijabi to be signed with IMG Models. And she wouldn’t have it any other way.
In a recent interview, the trail-blazing model confirmed she had a hijab clause written into her modelling contract, to ensure she would never be made to remove it.
“When I got that opportunity to sign with IMG Models, I made sure I wasn’t conforming,” Aden told CBS News, revealing that her first sit-down with the leading modelling agency lasted four hours. “I did it on my own terms.”
Aden, a Somali-American Muslim, was born in a refugee camp in Kenya. Since making her debut at that life-changing pageant in 2016, the 20-year-old has landed countless magazine covers and walked the runway for the likes of Kanye West and Alberta Ferretti.
For their part, IMG Models has been “super supportive” of her decision to remain covered, Aden said.
“Every time I got on set, I know the people who are doing the shoot already know my requirements. They know what I can wear, they already have an understanding. I’ve always felt safe.”
Aden also spoke of her appointment as the newest UNICEF Ambassador, which she has described as her “proudest accomplishment to date”.
“My mom can pick a Vogue magazine, and she doesn’t really understand,” the model explained.
“But when I told her about UNICEF, she started crying. When I told her that news, it was the first time in my modelling career she was really, truly proud of me.”