Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 6 December 2019

'My hijab is not going anywhere, ever ... please see me as human': Halima Aden tells trolls

The top model asked that those spitting vitriol 'see her as a human being'

Halima Aden at the 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards on November 11. AFP 
Halima Aden at the 2019 Glamour Women Of The Year Awards on November 11. AFP 

Halima Aden is only 22, but she's already helped to change the face of fashion: a Somali born in a refugee camp in Kenya, she moved to the United States at six; in 2016, she became the first hijab-wearing contestant in Miss America, and in 2017 she entered the mainstream fashion world, walking in Kanye West's Yeezy fashion show in New York.

Since then, she's appeared on covers (including CR Fashion Book) and has starred in campaigns for Sports Illustrated, Burberry, Nike and more.

She isn't going anywhere, and, as she pointed out on Instagram this week, neither is her hijab. In a personal post, Aden wrote: "my hijab is not going anywhere.. not today, not tomorrow, not ever".

All high-profile women report getting abuse on social media, but as a Muslim refugee who wears a hijab, Aden is likely on the receiving end of more unjustified vitriol than most. "The road has been long and very painful at times," she writes, "but also so incredibly rewarding.

"I’m not asking you to stop the criticism," she continued, "I'm just asking you to see me as a human being. It’s easy to pass judgement when you’ve never walked a mile in someone’s shoes.

Aden posted a picture of herself as a young girl with the commentary – highlighting that, while she has changed, her choice to wear a hijab has not:

The post received a lot of encouragement from fellow celebrities, with Queer Eye's Tan France writing, "Louder, for the ones in the back, trying not to hear it."

Young actresses Storm Reid and Yara Shahidi wrote "beautiful" and a "reminder to continue seeing one another" respectively.

Another watershed moment: Halima Aden for Sports Illustrated:

Updated: November 25, 2019 04:51 AM

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