Halima Aden & “The Twin Truths of Representation”

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Halima Aden, a Somali American model, was launched to fame after making headlines as the first hijab and burkini-clad model in a Miss USA beauty pageant. She then signed with the global modelling agency IMG with her hijab as a non-negotiable part of her contract. She went on to become the first hijabi cover model for Sports Illustrated, British Vogue and Vogue Arabia, and the first modest Muslimah to walk the runway at the New York Fashion Week. Clearly labelled as harbinger of many firsts, Halima Aden has not been immune to the pressures of the modelling industry or mainstream media. Feeling strangled by the constraints of prevailing fashion norms, Halima cited pressures to compromise on her beliefs and her hijab as what forced her to step away from the runway. 

On November 24, 2020 through a series of lengthy Instagram stories, Halima candidly reflected on her journey with the hijab and her decis