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.


Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

Updated 22 September 2018
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Imaan Hammam gets colorful in Versace

DUBAI: Italy’s Versace played with bold prints, patchwork and leather in its Spring/Summer 2019 women’s collection in a star-studded show on Friday, the third day of Milan’s fashion week.
Dutch-Moroccan-Egyptian model Imaan Hammam, who has walked for the fashion house before, took to the runway in an elaborated denim pantsuit emblazoned with Versace’s flagship prints in neon colors.

Imaan Hammam. (AFP)


Meanwhile, celebrity model Bella Hadid, who walked the show with sister Gigi, wore a tight one-shouldered mini dress in yellow leather and matching sneakers.
Singers Leona Lewis, Nicki Minaj and Rita Ora, model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, actor Luke Evans and Italian influencer Chiara Ferragni were all in the front row of an enormous industrial space in the modern CityLife neighborhood where the runway show was held, Reuters reported.

Bella Hadid. (AFP)


Pale yellow walls formed a background to a carpeted floor that echoed some of the prints used in the collection — colored stripes, bright flowers over pinstripes, checks, roses and small flowers mimicking animal prints.
“The style of the Versace woman is so recognizable that it need not be explained. She is not afraid of showing her personality and she is extremely feminine and confident,” read a style note by the fashion house, known for its daring designs.
Close-fitting silhouettes, ruched flared trousers and layered looks, with tulle mini-dresses paired with silk-printed longer ones, designed by Artistic Director and Vice President Donatella Versace, paraded down the catwalk in orange, violet and lime colors.

Gigi Hadid. (AFP)


“The all-over prints of the clothes are overlapped with neat nonchalance,” the note said.
For the evening, Versace flaunted a black satin tuxedo paired with flared trousers, or knee-length leather skirts with golden buttons.
Nineties supermodel Shalom Harlow closed the show, donning a long tulle dress with colorful flower embellishments that flared out in a transparent, sparkly black skirt.
Some of the models carried big boxed bags that echoed old-fashioned travel trunks, or large PVC shopping bags emblazoned with Versace writing. On their feet they wore chunky sneakers, college shoes, or square-heeled sandals, while their ears featured big flower-shaped ear-cuffs matched with hairpins.
The brand with the famed Medusa logo said that her “mystic powers and ever-powerful persona are evident now more than ever,” according to the show notes.
Fake snakeskin, flowers, polished leather and layer upon layer, the Versace collection was eclectic and refined, AFP noted in its review.