After becoming the first ever contestant in the Minnesota USA pageant to wear a hijab and burkini while competing, Halima Aden is breaking ground again as the first model to pose in the Sports Illustrated: Swimsuit Edition in a burkini.
The 21-year-old wears two custom-made burkinis by designers No Ka’Oi and Cynthia Rowley, and was photographed by Yu Tsai on Watamu Beach in Kenya.
The location of the shoot held particular significance to the model as she was born and lived in a Kenyan refugee camp. When Aden was 7, her family moved to the United States and settled in St Cloud, Minnesota.
Despite winning homecoming queen at her high school, Aden told Sports Illustrated that “growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab.”
Seeking to provide representation for young girls like herself, Aden has done an excellent job of pushing the envelope on beauty standards in the fashion industry, while sticking true to her own values and beliefs.
The model told E-News that “young Muslim women need to know that there is a modest swimsuit option available to them.”
Her appearance in the magazine helps celebrate beauty of every kind and empower women to “cheer each other on, and champion each other’s successes.”