A Muslim supermodel has made history by becoming the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in Sports Illustrated‘s swimsuit issue.
Halima Aden was also the first contestant ever to wear a hijab and burkini in Miss Minnesota USA in 2016.
At the time, she told CNN: “There are so many Muslim women that feel like they don’t fit society’s standard of beauty.
“I just wanted to tell them it’s OK to be different, being different is beautiful, too.”
Sharing a similar thought in a behind-the-scenes video at her Sports Illustrated shoot, Aden said: “Growing up in the United States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab.
“Don’t be afraid to be the first.”
As a Somali-American who grew up in Kenya’s Kakuma refugee camp before moving with her family to the US when she was seven, Aden said she is thankful to be living the American dream.
She told Sports Illustrated: “I keep thinking (back) to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp.
“So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya – I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”
Aden was also one of three black hijabi models featured on the cover of Vogue Arabia, the magazine’s first group hijabi cover.
And, in 2018, she was the first hijabi woman to grace the cover of the British Vogue.
At B&T, we believe initiatives like this can shape and influence culture. That’s one of the reasons we created Changing the Ratio, Australia’s diversity and inclusion conference for the advertising industry. Check out the 2019 schedule today.