DUBAI: Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue will feature a model wearing a hijab and burkini for the first time, the magazine said Monday.
Somali-American model Halima Aden’s rookie spread will be set in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp and lived until the age of seven, AFP reported.
“Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” Aden said in a video tweeted by the magazine.
Sports Illustrated also posted a picture of her posing lying down in shallow water, wearing a turquoise hijab, long yellow earrings and a deep blue burkini — the full-length swimsuit favored by some Muslim women.
“Don’t change yourself… Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!! Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings... can stand together and be celebrated. Thank you so much @si_swimsuit and the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity,” the model posted on Instagram as she reveled the news.
Aden, 21, made headlines at age 19 when she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant, where she made the semifinals in 2016.
She has previously featured on the cover of British Vogue and walked on the New York Fashion Week runway.
In July 2018, Aden has revealed that she has her coverage requirements built into her contract with IMG Models.
In an interview with CBS News, she revealed that she addressed personal concerns about modesty in her contract with the leading modeling agency.
“When I got that opportunity to sign with IMG models, I made sure I wasn’t conforming,” she said. “Our first-ever sit-down was four hours, and I did it on my own terms.
“Every time I go on set, I know that the people who are doing the shoot already know my requirements. They know what I can wear, they already have an understanding, and I’ve always felt safe.”
The model also recently made her debut as a designer with a range of headscarves created in collaboration with modest e-tailer Modanisa.
The range of 27 headscarves was unveiled in April.