At the age of 19, Halima Aden made headlines being the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. After that, she became an incredibly successful international model. Now, the Somali-American 21-year old has just made history by being the first women wearing a burkini in the magazine Sports Illustrated.
Shooting in her birth country
The Somali-American model was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. She lived there until she was seven, and then moved to the united states. Sports Illustrated couldn’t think of a better place to travel than her birth country. So for the magazine’s yearly swimsuit issue, Halima traveled to Watamu Beach in Kenya.
We can see the model posing in a colorful burkini with bright yellow earrings. Halima says she keeps thinking back to the six-year old who was in the same country 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.”
The Sports Illustrated swimsuit editor MJ Day said “We believe beauty knows no boundaries, 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. She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”
Halima sends a positive, hopeful message for young girls who are doubting themselves and writes on instagram: “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.”
Just in time to swim!