Halima Aden, a trailblazing young model who was one of the first to wear a hijab on the catwalk and quickly became one of the most exciting faces to watch, has announced that she will be stepping back from the fashion industry because she has been forced to compromise on her religious beliefs for too long.
Aden took to Instagram Stories to share a number of occasions, whether for photo shoots of fashion shows, where she could not be herself. These included missing prayer times as well as what she wore in place of a traditional hijab.
Throughout the series of images, which Aden has saved as an Instagram Highlight (that you can view here), the model went on to explain how time at home with her family as a result of lockdown has given her clarity of thought, leading to the conclusion that she can no longer work in the fashion industry.
"I can only blame myself for caring more about opportunity than what was actually at stake," she wrote, adding that she bent who she was in order to keep people happy and be given opportunities. Aden explained the struggle with being a "minority within a minority" in the modelling world, adding: "What I do blame the industry for is the lack of Muslim women stylists."
Within the images shared, Aden praised some situations and designers, including Rihanna (who let the model wear the hijab Aden had brought to set) and criticised others, including those who convinced her to wear pairs of jeans on her head in place of her traditional hijab.
Aden's decision to speak out has been praised by a number of her fellow models, including Leomie Anderson and Gigi and Bella Hadid, who urged their followers to check out Aden's Instagram in order to educate themselves.
"I had to make those mistakes to be the role model you can trust," Aden wrote to her followers. "Remember, I had no one before me paving the way so mistakes are part of the learning experience. I did good, but that isn't enough. We gotta have these conversations in order to change the system truly."
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