Model Halima Aden Becomes First Person to Wear a Hijab or Burkini in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue


April 29, 2019

Halima Aden is proving that you don’t have to change who you are to be beautiful. In her Sports Illustrated Swimsuit debut, the Somali-American model wore a hijab and burkini, making history as the first to do so in the magazine.

Halima was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp and lived there until age seven when her family relocated to the United States. The shoot represented a full circle moment for her as it took place in her birth country. 

She told Sports Illustrated what it meant to be back in Kenya under vastly different circumstances.


“I keep thinking back to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Halima said. “So to grow up to live the American dream and to come back to Kenya and shoot for Sports Illustrated in the most beautiful parts of Kenya… I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”

Halima continues to break barriers by expanding how we view beauty. She’s walked the runways at New York Fashion Week and she’s graced the cover of British Vogue. Each time she appears, she does it as a beautiful champion for modesty in fashion. 


She took to Instagram to share her excitement and to encourage her followers to remain true to themselves. 

“Don’t change yourself… change the GAME. Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated.” 

Congratulations Halima on playing the game by your rules and inspiring so many in the process!


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