Once a refugee, now a supermodel, Halima Aden takes on children’s rights

Supermodel Halima Aden, once a child refugee herself, is now an ambassador for UNICEF. (Shutterstock)
Updated 14 August 2018
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Once a refugee, now a supermodel, Halima Aden takes on children’s rights

  • Aden was announced as a UNICEF ambassador in July this year
  • The 20-year-old was the first model to sport a hijab at fashion weeks in both New York and Milan

JEDDAH: Somali-American supermodel Halima Aden, an ambassador for UNICEF, is using her voice to advocate for children’s rights.

The former child refugee, who came to the United States during the Somali Civil War in the early 1990s, shared a video on her social media account on the subject with the hashtag AChildIsAChild, writing: “@unicefusa helps to keep children safe and protects their rights, no matter where they are. That work is more essential now than ever, with nearly 50 million children uprooted across the globe. Who do you hear?”

Aden, who has 680,000 followers on Instagram, was announced as a UNICEF ambassador in July this year. Aden has described her appointment as a “lifelong dream” and her “proudest accomplishment to date.” Her mission is to “put children first.”

As a refugee herself, she possesses a unique understanding of the needs, hopes and dreams of the 30 million children around the world who have been forcibly displaced by conflict.

The 20-year-old was the first model to sport a hijab at fashion weeks in both New York and Milan. She made history by being the first woman to wear a hijab at a Miss USA state pageant and was the first model to wear her hijab on the covers of major women’s magazines, such as Allure, British Vogue and Teen Vogue.

Aden was born in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, after her family fled civil war in Somalia. She lived there for seven years with her parents before moving to the US. Growing up, UNICEF played an important role in her life as it provided her with an education.

She has earlier stated her concerns about immigrant children who are being separated from their families at the US border.

The pioneering Muslim model’s passion for helping refugees, particularly children, has taken her to many places. The activist most recently visited her refugee camp in Somalia, where she shared her story with hundreds of children.

“Although the children here (in Kakuma) may be refugees, first and foremost they are children. They deserve every opportunity to flourish, to hope, to dream, to be successful,” she had said.

Earlier, she traveled with UNICEF Next Generation from Mexico City to Chiapas, the southern Mexico state bordering Guatemala, where she met with migrants living at local shelters and migrant women attending village schools.

In March this year, Aden inspired students at UNICEF’s Annual Summit in Washington, DC by speaking at the Women’s Empowerment and Leadership panel session.


Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

Updated 17 November 2018
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Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

DUBAI: Hollywood singer Gwen Stefani wore an ethereal gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra for a performance at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, last week — and she looked like a princess.
The former “The Voice US” coach arrived in Disneyland in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a pink tulle ruffled gown, complete with a glittery bodice and a green satin bow adorning the neckline.
Acra — whose creations have been worn by numerous world-renowned personalities, including US First Lady Melania Trump — posted an image of Stefani wearing the festive gown, which is part of the design huse’s pre-fall 2018 collection.
Stefani is no stranger to Acra’s gowns — she once wore another one of the Lebanese fashion icon’s creations to the 43rd People’s Choice Award in 2017.
Stefani was in the Disney-themed park to perform a line-up of Christmas tunes, including “Feliz Navidad” and “Let It Snow,” for Disney’s upcoming special holiday show airing on Nov. 29 on US television network ABC and the Disney Channel.
Other holiday-themed performances included pop star Meghan Trainor, father-son duo Andrea and Matteo Bocelli, singer-songwriter Becky G and other celebrities.

The 49-year-old multi-Grammy-award-winning singer will also perform in two other upcoming Disney Christmas specials on Nov. 23 and Dec. 25, serenading her fans with classic covers from her own Christmas album.
Stefani, who has three sons with her ex-husband, started dating “The Voice US” coach, country singer Blake Shelton in 2015 — and now both are looking to have a baby through a surrogate, according to US media report.
“They are in the final stages of choosing the woman who will carry their baby. It’s extremely important to Gwen that she give Blake a biological child, and Blake is so excited,” a source said, according to fashion magazine Cosmopolitan.