Halima Aden makes history as first Sports Illustrated model to wear hijab and burkini

Francesca Specter
Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Halima Aden wears a burkini and hijab in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated. [Photo: Getty]

Halima Aden stars in the latest issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit wearing a cobalt blue burkini and emerald hijab combination.

The Muslim model has been recruited as part of the publication’s latest “rookie” class for 2019 – following in the footsteps of the likes of Winnie Harlow and Chrissy Teigen.

Aden’s debut was announced at lunchtime today in a tweet from the publication, which has since garnered more than 1,000 likes at time of writing.

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She was shot by photographer Yu Tsai in Watamu Beach, Kenya – the country where 21-year-old Aden was born at a refugee camp.

Her hijab is typical of “modesty dressing”, a tradition held up by many Muslim women.

While there is some debate over whether a “burkini” can be considered acceptable as part of this tradition, sales of the garment have risen in recent years among Muslim and non-Muslim women alike.

Believe it or not, this is far from the first time Aden has made history during her three-year-long career.

In 2016, she was the first contestant to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota pageant – where she went on to compete as a semi-finalist.

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She subsequently became the first hijabi wearing woman to be signed to a major modelling agency, scoring a contract with IMG Models in 2017.

Aden was also the first hijabi model to star on the cover of British Vogue.

“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” says SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day, of Aden’s latest trailblazing shoot.

“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.”

Aden’s Sports Illustrated shoot coincides with the launch of her new headwear collection produced in collaboration with Modanisa, which goes on sale tomorrow, 30 April, on the brand’s website.