Halima Aden is not only a gorgeous model, but she’s an important figure in the fashion world in 2017. The 19-year old, IMG-signed superstar was the first Somali-American model to compete in a Miss Minnesota USA pageant and was also the first to wear a burkini doing so.
She’s become a voice for young minority girls and boys who aspire to follow in her footsteps; at such a young age, Halima is breaking down barriers left and right giving thousands of people hope and motivation to be themselves.
The young model recently covered the front of Glamour Magazine and wrote an open letter explaining her love for fashion, how she got involved in the industry, her mindset of “being her own person,” what she hopes to do with her success and much more.
Read some excerpts below and visit Glamour for the full thing.
On her origins and changing the stereotype:
“I’m Somali, but I was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, and we came to America when I was seven…Muslims make up only about one percent of America, so it’s a very small group and there are plenty of stereotypes about us—we’re not often portrayed as people doing good things. I want to change that. I want everyone to live to their full potential without having to fear someone will try to knock them down or discriminate against them.”
“I wanted to challenge certain people’s ideas of Muslims, especially around standards of beauty. I wish I could say I was calm backstage, but being the first hijab-wearing Miss Minnesota contestant was nerve-racking. How were Somalians going to react? I didn’t want to let anybody down. But then I thought: It’s Miss Minnesota. I am a Minnesotan. I know I qualify—I shouldn’t limit myself.”
Advice to women and young girls:
“I want to show people there’s not just one way of being Muslim. Mostly I want to show all women: You don’t have to conform to one standard of beauty. And to all the other Muslim girls: If you’re into something and you don’t see other Muslim people doing it, that’s your job.”