She’s done it again! The 21-year-old former Miss Minnesota USA semi-finalist Halima Aden has broken through another barrier, appearing in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue wearing a hijab and burkini.
Yu Tsai photographed Aden in the water against a backdrop of cliffs; she is wearing two custom burkinis from No Ka’Oi and Cynthia Rowley. The shoot took place in Kenya, where Aden was born into a refugee camp. She lived there until she was 7.
"Having Halima as a part of SI Swimsuit is yet another example of the range and scope of the type of beauty that exists," SI Swimsuit MJ Day said in a statement. "Her participation and inclusion further highlights the brands commitment and belief in supporting women to own who they are and what makes them unique and ultimately reaffirms what our messaging has been, that YOU are worthy."
For her part, Aden hopes that the shoot will have an impact that resonates beyond the pages of the magazine: "SI Swimsuit has been at the forefront of changing the narrative and conversation on social issues and preconceived notions. I'm hoping this specific feature will open doors up for my Somali community, Muslim community, refugee community and any other community that can relate to being different. This feature is proving that a fully covered hijab wearing model can confidently stand alongside a beautiful woman in a revealing bikini and together they can celebrate one another, cheer each other on, and champion each other's successes."
She continued, "Young Muslim women need to know that there is a modest swimsuit option available to them so they can join the swim team, participate in swim class at school, and go with their friends to the beach. Muslim girls should feel confident taking that step and doing so comfortably while wearing a burkini."