Only one week since making her runway debut at YEEZY Season 5, Halima Aden already has one magazine cover in her portfolio. The 19-year-old Somali-American was symbolic of the representation the industry’s been lacking after becoming the first hijab-wearing model signed to IMG. According to reports, Carine Roitfeld styled Kanye West’s show, which may have helped Aden make her CR Fashion Book appearance within Issue 10.
Inside,the interview was conducted by Iman, who is also Somalian and whom Aden names as one of her lifelong inspirations for breaking the glass ceiling. Together they discuss the perception of what it means to be Muslim in America — find an excerpt below before CR Fashion Book hits stands March 2.
Iman: What does the support you’ve received mean to you?
Halima: To me, it represents freedom of choice. A lot of people have the misconception that, as a Muslim woman, I am somehow against women wearing bikinis. No, I want women to feel comfortable and confident in whatever they wear.
Iman: Is there one supporter who really impressed you?
Halima: I didn’t think about how many different people this would affect. I went in thinking that I want something positive for young Muslim girls. But I’ve heard stories from parents who are Christians, telling me, “Thank you, I want my seven-year-old daughter to know that you don’t have to be half-naked to be beautiful.”
Iman: Yes, but sometimes people say, “You are my hero!” and that’s a lot of responsibility.
Halima: I wish I could tell them, “Hey, I’m not a perfect Muslim.” A lot of people had a misconception that I would be the perfect poster child for Islam. So I got a lot of Instagram comments like, “Oh, you don’t have your neck covered, you’re not a Muslim!” My thing is, stop judging women, especially if you’re a man, because you don’t know the responsibility that comes with wearing a hijab.
Halima Aden is the hajib-wearing model who just made her debut at YEEZY Season 5 and is newly signed to IMG. The agency also reps Gigi Hadid and Karlie Kloss.
The 19-year-old Somali-American made headlines when she competed in the Minnesota’s Miss USA competition in a burkini. “I didn’t really have modeling in mind. I wanted to spread a positive message about beauty and diversity, and to show other young Muslim women that there is room for them.”
IMG Models President Ivan Bart said about her signing:
“I found that she was just so brave to stick to what she really believed in and yet go after the American dream of being in a beauty contest. By representing Halima, I would hope that the next 10-year-old girl wearing her hajib right now will feel included in the experience of fashion, and know that she could do that too. We need to reflect in fashion who we are, as a human race.”Carine Roitfeld is also a new advocate – she reportedly had a role in Aden’s YEEZY casting. “Halima is breaking boundaries of beauty and perception by being herself. I find this incredibly inspiring, and I know she will be an icon.”
Get to know Aden because she’s about to blow up.