Somali hijabi model makes history by appearing in Sports Illustrated magazine

Somali fashion model Halima Aden has made history by becoming the first Muslim model to appear in Sports Illustrated magazine wearing a hijab.

Sports Illustrated is an American sports magazine read by tens of millions of people each week.

Aden appeared in the swimsuit edition, out next month.

“Young girls who wear a hijab should have women they look up to in any and every industry,” the model told the BBC.

“We are now seeing politicians, business women, television reporters, and other successful hijabi women in visible roles and that is the message we need to be sending.

Last month, Ms Aden alongside Somali models Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan made history in the fashion world by starring in the first ever group hijabi cover for Vogue magazine.

Aden, 21, who was born in Kenya, moved to the United States as a child.

“This is literally a dream come true,” Aden told Sports Illustrated. “I can’t even tell you how this feels.”

“I keep thinking to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” she said during her shoot. “So to grow up to live the American dream, 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.”

“I keep thinking to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” she said during her shoot. “So to grow up to live the American dream, 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.”

In 2016, Aden became the first contestant to wear a hijab and a burkini while competing in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist. She was also the first Muslim-Somali student senator at her college, St. Cloud State University in Minnesota.

“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” said Sports Illustrated 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.”

The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition goes on sale on May 8. Other models include Paulina Porizkova, Robin Holzken, Haley Kalil and Anne de Paula.

Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

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