Models fight for the opportunity to walk the runways of Fashion Week for the sheer visibility. But the excitement has doubled for 19-year-old ‘It’ girl Halima Aden, who has been able to model while also staying true to her religious beliefs both on and off the runway.
The Kenyan-born, Minnesota-raised beauty is being lauded for wearing her hijab in all her modeling work. This past season alone, she walked for Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti and Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy.
Aden recently sat down with the BBC to discuss her experience thus far in fashion.
“Being Somali, being Muslim, it’s always something I’ve been very proud of,” Aden said of her rich heritage. “I’ve notice over the years that in a way it was something I was scared to be because of the misconceptions and stereotypes that were out there. So this is my chance to show the world a different side to Muslims. We are your everyday people.”
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When asked if she’s received any negative feedback from within the industry she says that the experience has been fairly inclusive, with fellow models welcoming her presence.
“I choose to focus on the positive. I feel like with anything you choose to do in this world, there are always gonna be people who disagree,” she added. “But I’ve had a lot more supporters than critics.”
In addition to major runway shows, Aden has also broken barriers in the pageant world. Last November, she snagged dozens of headlines as the first woman to ever wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant.
“I say this all the time, but my hijab, it really is my crown and it’s something that I bring to the table. It’s something that makes me unique. It shows the world who I truly am.”