Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 20 May 2019

Halima Aden makes history by posing in hijab and modest swimwear for 'Sports Illustrated'

The model is the first to wear Muslim dress in the pages of the magazine's Swimsuit Issue

Halima Adenis the first 'Sports Illustrated' model to wear modest swimwear and a hijab in the annual swimsuit issue. EPA
Halima Adenis the first 'Sports Illustrated' model to wear modest swimwear and a hijab in the annual swimsuit issue. EPA

She first rose to fame in 2016, by competing at a US beauty pageant in a burkini, and now Halima Aden has again made headlines thanks to some swimwear.

The Somali-American star this week made history as the first model to be featured in Sports Illustrated's annual Swimsuit Issue wearing a hijab and a modest swimsuit.

The 21-year-old returned to her former homeland of Kenya for the shoot, where she was born and raised in a refugee camp before moving to America, aged seven.

"Don’t change yourself .. Change the game!" Aden wrote on Instagram as she shared images from the photo shoot, her first for the US magazine, which will hit newsstands next month.

"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."

The magazine in turn paid tribute to the model, announcing on its Instagram page that Aden was "shattering perceptions as the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini" on its pages.

Sports Illustrated also shared a quote from the model, taken from her interview: "I never really felt represented, because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab."

Aden later told the BBC she was proud to shoot her spread in Kenya, where she never imagined she would grow up to live the "American dream". "I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up," the model added.

This isn't the first time Aden has made history, after she also became the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of beauty magazine Allure in 2017.

The catwalk star, who has walked for labels such as Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti and Yeezy, also became the first model of colour to wear a hijab on the cover of British Vogue last year.

Updated: April 30, 2019 10:09 AM

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