Halima Aden jets to New York after whirlwind Riyadh visit

Updated 06 November 2019

Halima Aden jets to New York after whirlwind Riyadh visit

  • The model was in Saudi Arabia for the first Fashion Futures event Riyadh
  • She’s scheduled to speak at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit in New York this weekend

DUBAI: Halima Aden bid goodbye to Riyadh on Tuesday as she’s scheduled to speak at Glamour’s Women of the Year Summit in New York this weekend.

The Somali-American model uploaded two videos on her Instagram Stories that showed her driving down a palm-tree lined street.

“Bye bye, Riyadh,” she wrote in a text that accompanied the first clip. “Inshallah, I can’t wait to come back,” she added, implying that a visit back to the Kingdom could come in the future. 

Though she’s previously been to the Middle East — she’s visited the UAE on numerous occasions —it was the 22-year-old’s first time in Saudi Arabia. 

Aden first made international headlines by competing as the first veiled contestant in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant, before making her New York Fashion Week debut at Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 show in 2017. The model was in Saudi Arabia for the first Fashion Futures event Riyadh. 

The event, which kicked off on Nov. 4, is a fashion-focused conference in the Kingdom that features interviews, seminars, panels, masterclasses and workshops.  On Tuesday, the hijab-wearing model conducted a talk and a Q&A session during the three-day extravaganza.

Her keynote address was entitled “Don’t be afraid to be the first” — and the model certainly knows all about firsts.

In addition to being the first-ever model to appear on a Fashion Week runway wearing a hijab, Aden also made history when she appeared on the 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated wearing a scarf and burkini.

“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,” the model posted on Instagram at the time.

Meanwhile, she is the first hijab-wearing model to grace the cover of a Vogue magazine edition with her June 2017 Vogue Arabia cover.

It’s impressive for someone whose first chapters of life couldn’t be more far removed from the fashion industry. She was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya, before relocating to the US with her family when she was six-years-old. 

She would go on to cinch bookings at renowned international brands, such as Alberta Ferretti and Max Mara, land major campaigns with the likes of Nike, Fenty Beauty and MAC Cosmetics and appear on the pages of prestigious publications.


Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition. (Supplied)
Updated 34 min 45 sec ago

Photographers reveal Egypt’s hidden gems in show for a good cause

  • Cairo Saturday Walks are a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city
  • The team is now exhibiting its work for charity at a gallery in the city

DUBAI: The Cairo Saturday Walks team, a group of photographers who go on adventures every week to take pictures across the city, are now exhibiting their work for charity at a gallery in the city.

The exhibition brought together more than 50 local, international, professional and amateur photographers who are displaying their work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22.

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60. (Supplied)

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past, according to the founder of Cairo Saturday Walks Karim El-Hayawan.

This is the group’s fourth charitable exhibition.

El-Hayawan described the practice as an “organic experience,” during which photographers discover the city’s hidden gems.

The group is displaying its work in the Maadi district until Nov. 22. (Supplied)

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers.

El-Hayawan’s journey began after he took a basic introductory course in photography. “I did not have time during the week to work on my photography assignments. I used to go out every Saturday to take pictures and I used to post on my account. Then a lot of people started asking me ‘Where are these places? Where do you go? We want to join,’ although (these places) exist 10-15 minutes from anywhere in Cairo, but people did not notice them or had forgotten them,” he told Arab News.

The photographers walk around and discover the city’s hidden gems. (Supplied)

The group has a library of more than 15,000 pictures accessible on Instagram through #cairosaturdaywalks.

“We ask people who join us to share their pictures on that hashtag, with the intention of having a long-term documentation of Cairo,” El-Hayawan said. “Everyone takes pictures from his/her own perspective. It is extremely neutral; everyone takes pictures of whatever they want.”

In two to three years, people can go back to this documentation and see that Cairo looked this way at this time,” he said.

All proceeds from the gallery will go to the restoration of a public facility in one of the underserved areas that the group has walked in and photographed during the past. (Supplied)

A typical Saturday for the photographers starts off at a cafe. “We meet in the morning at a coffee shop and we take a little bus that we rent every Saturday and we just hit the road to somewhere random and we get lost. We call them to pick us up from wherever we reach at the end of the day. The idea is that it has no structure and I really aimed at that from the very beginning,” El-Hayawan said.

What started off as a one-man weekly walk is now a practice shared by 500 photographers. (Supplied)

The youngest participant is 13 and the oldest is 60, but El-Hayawan said that anyone can join the walk and share their pictures.

“I found out about Cairo Saturday Walks from Instagram. The spirit of people I walk with is just amazing. Also, the fact that I am Egyptian yet I still get amazed by Cairo’s streets is what pushes me to explore more every week,” Yara Wael, a 17-year-old photographer, told Arab News.