Boundary-breaking Muslim supermodel Halima Aden has made history once again by becoming the first model to wear a hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, the media reported on Tuesday. In 2016, Aden became the first contestant in Miss Minnesota USA to wear a hijab and burkini, ultimately reaching the pageant's semi-finals, reports CNN. "Growing up in the US, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab," she said in a behind-the-scenes video of the Sports Illustrated shoot. "Don't be afraid to be the first."
Aden, who is Somali-American, grew up in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp, before moving with her family to the US at the age of seven. Her Sports Illustrated shoot, photographed by Yu Tsai, took place at Kenya's Watamu Beach. "I keep thinking (back) to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp," Aden told the magazine. "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."
In March, she was one of three black hijabi models featured on the cover of Vogue Arabia alongside Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan. In April 2018, she broke new ground in British Vogue, as the first hijabi woman on the cover. In an interview to Good Morning America, she succinctly summed up why her hijab and burkini photoshoot has made headlines around the world and is being hailed as an important step in the right direction. "Sports Illustrated is proving that a girl that's wearing a bikini could be right alongside a girl that's wearing a burkini. And as women we can come alongside each other and be each other's biggest cheerleaders," she said.
(With IANS inputs)