Halima Aden Just Made History with Her ‘SI Swimsuit’ Spread

Halima Aden is making history as the newest member of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit team, and all we have to say is…yaaasss!

The 21-year-old model is the first person to wear a hijab and burkini (a combination burqa and bikini) in the magazine’s history.

Although Aden was 7 years old when she moved to the United States, she was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp. SI flew the model back to her birth country for her rookie spread, where she shot with photographer Yu Tsai at Watamu Beach.

During the shoot, Aden couldn’t help but feel nostalgic, saying, “I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp. 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.”

Aden rose to stardom at the age of 19 when she became the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota pageant. Although she only made it to the semifinal round, she went on to score an even bigger prize: a contract with IMG Models. She has since appeared on the cover of British Vogue and has walked the runway for Yeezy, Max Mara and more.

According to SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day, it was only a matter of time before Aden made a cameo in the mag.

“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” she said in a statement. “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.”

A supermodel who’s also a role model? We’re all about that.

Greta Heggeness

Senior Editor

Greta Heggeness is a California-based editor at PureWow and has been writing about entertainment since 2015. She covers everything from awards shows to exclusive celebrity...
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