Somali-American model Halima Aden, who spent many years of her childhood in a refugee camp, became the first woman to pose for a magazine in a hijab and burkini.
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Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. 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. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.
Burkini, for those who might not know, is a full-body swimsuit.
21-year-old Halima modelled for popular magazine Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue which will be available for the readers in May.
After her huge accomplishment, Halima said:
Growing up in the States, I never felt represented, because I could never flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab
Having spent the early years of her life in a refugee camp in Kenya, Halima moved to Minnesota in the US as a 7-year-old kid and was the first woman to wear a hijab at the Miss Minnesota USA competition.
Life came full circle for her as she got an offer for the shoot in Kenya, after all these years. Talking about this to Sports Illustrated, she said:
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.
Breaking all stereotypes, she featured on the cover of British Vogue and has walked on the runway at New York Fashion Week.