Halima Aden makes history as the first model to pose for Sports Illustrated Swimsuit wearing a hijab and a burkini.
In a written statement the Somali-American model says:
“Being featured in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will have such a great impact on women and young girls who have never seen someone who looks like them represented in the public eye. SI Swimsuit has been at the forefront of changing the narrative and conversation on social issues and preconceived notions. I’m hoping this specific feature will open doors up for my Somali community, the Muslim community, the refugee community and any other community that can relate to being different.”
Aden’s spread was shot at Watamu Beach in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp. She lived there until the age of seven before moving to the United States of America.
“I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden says. “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.”
MJ Day the SI Swimsuit editor shares her admiration for the model.
“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.”
The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue hits newsstands May 8.