Former Model and Activist
Former hijab-wearing model, Halima Aden, has been redefining traditional standards of beauty, diversifying the modeling industry, and improving visibility for the underrepresented demographic of Muslim women.
Within weeks of signing with a modeling agency, Aden was shot for the cover of Carine Roitfeld's CR Fashion Book. She is also the first model to grace the covers of Vogue Arabia and Allure Magazine wearing a hijab. In 2018, she starred in covers for British Vogue and Teen Vogue. Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, moving to St. Cloud, Minnesota at the age of seven. In 2016 she competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant — the first Somali-American to do so — and made it to the semi-finals. The Muslim model was also the first contestant in the pageant to wear a hijab throughout the competition, and the first to forgo skimpy swimwear in favor of a burkini during the contest’s swimsuit round.
She went on to make her catwalk debut during New York Fashion Week Autumn/Winter 2017 at Yeezy and also walked for Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara in Milan. In March 2019, Aden announced her collaboration with Modanisa to create a collection of 27 headpieces, including headscarves and turbans, to debut at Istanbul Modest Fashion Week. The same year, she was the first hijab model to feature on the cover of Sports Illustrated's swimsuit issue.
She hosted the premiere of I Am You, a feature film based on the true story of Afghan refugees. Sonia Nassery Cole, the filmmaker, partnered with Aden because she was a child refugee. Aden believed that showing this movie during NYFW was a good fit. “Fashion for me has always been combining fashion and activism.”
In 2020, Aden stepped away from the industry but continues to make an impact within the fashion world and beyond. Aden looks forward to continuing to do the work she is passionate about, including continuing to improve awareness and visibility for Muslim women.
Halima was amazing and great with the students. We are very pleased.