Minnesota’s Halima Aden makes history by posing in a burkini and hijab for ‘Sports Illustrated’
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Minnesota’s Halima Aden makes history by posing in a burkini and hijab for ‘Sports Illustrated’

Halima Aden has made history as the first model to pose wearing a burkini and a hijab in the pages of Sports Illustrated’s iconic Swimsuit Issue.

The 21-year-old Muslim model wears a variety of modest ensembles for the shoot, which took place at Watamu Beach in her home country of Kenya with photographer Yu Tsai.

Halima, who was born in a refugee camp in the country and emigrated to America aged seven, told Sports Illustrated she was struggling to come to terms with the magnitude of her groundbreaking shoot.

“I keep thinking (back) to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” she explained to the magazine. “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.”

Among the looks Halima wears for the swimsuit issue, due for release on 8 May (19), are a colorful geometric burkini with a pink hijab, and a stunning black custom-made ruffled burkini with beaded neckline and sleeves, teamed with a red hijab.

In a behind-the-scenes video of the shoot shared by Sports Illustrated, Halima grinned: “This is literally a dream come true. I can’t even tell you how this feels.”

The move to include Halima in her burkini and hijab is representative of Sports Illustrated’s decision to embrace models of all shapes, sizes and ethnicities, with editor MJ Day saying of the history-making shoot: “We believe beauty knows no boundaries. 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.

“We both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective. We both know that women are so often perceived to be one way or one thing based on how they look or what they wear. Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.”

– Cover Media

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