Connect with us


World’s only hijab-wearing supermodel defends garment



In November 2016, Denise Wallace, Executive Co-Director of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant got a phone call from 19-year-old Halima Aden, a freshman of St. Cloud State University asking if she could compete – while wearing her hijab.

It was the first time Ms Wallace spoke with the teen, pulling up her information on her computer.

“Her photo popped up. And I remember distinctly going, “Wow, she is beautiful. I mean I just remember that reaction that I had,” Ms Wallace recalled.
Now the world’s only hijab wearing super model, the Somali-American teen said that wearing the headscarf is simply a part of who she is.

“I wear the hijab every day,” Ms Aden told Reuters.

“It was a no-brainer.”

After the competition Ms Aden made headlines as the first hijab and burkini-sporting contestant in the history of the pageant, the bold move catapulting her career to new heights involving many “firsts”.

Freshly signed by IMG in February, she made her modelling debut on the catwalk of Kanye West’s Yeezy show in New York. Ms Aden as the only hijab-wearing model signed by a major modelling agency to date.

Following her success in New York, she walked on the international runways of Italian fashion houses Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti, alongside the likes of Gigi Hadid and Liu Wen.

Coinciding with Ms Aden’s success, the hijab – one of the most visible signs of Islamic culture – is going mainstream as well, with advertisers, media giants and fashion firms promoting images of the traditional headscarf in ever more ways.
Nike announced it is using its prowess in the sports and leisure market to launch a breathable mesh hijab in spring 2018, becoming the first major sports apparel maker to offer a traditional Islamic head scarf designed for competition.

American retailer American Eagle Outfitters has also created a denim hijab with Ms Aden as its main model. The youthful headscarf sold out in less than a week after it was made available online.

Beauty bible Allure magazine’s editor-in-chief Michelle Lee was also in the mix, putting Ms Aden on the front cover of the magazine’s July issue, describing her as a “normal American teenage girl”.

“She is someone who is so amazingly representative of who we are as America, as a melting pot it totally made sense for us,” Ms Lee said.
Ms Aden was born in Kakuma, a United Nations refugee camp in Kenya, and made it to the United States at the age of seven where she initially settled in St. Louis, Missouri.

She fondly recalls her time at the refugee camp, where children from different religions celebrated each other’s holidays.

“Different people different refugees from all over Africa came together in Kakuma. Yet we still found a common ground,” she said.

“And then coming here it was a little different because that wasn’t always the case.”

In America she became an A-student and homecoming queen at her high school, but always noticed that there were no Muslim-Americans in the media that she could look up to.

Her ultimate goal is to become a role model for Muslim-American youth.

For any hijab-denouncers, Ms Aden always stresses that she started wearing hers in the hopes to resemble her mom.

“Anything in life, if it’s not your choice, it’s oppressive. So I’m not going to argue against that. But for the majority it’s a choice. Like for me it was a choice,” she said.

By her side is Ms Wallace, who now travels the world as her manager, making sure that Ms Aden’s customs are respected.

Most of the time people are understanding, but even if they are not, Ms Aden said that she doesn’t pay too much attention.

“I am doing me and I have no reason to think that other people are against me. So I just I guess I’m oblivious,” she said.

For now Ms Aden is content being a champion for diversity in the modelling industry, but in time she hopes to return to Kakuma to work with refugee children to show them they all have the potential to become international stars.

Continue Reading
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply


Rep. Ellison, Rep. Emmer, and Colleagues Introduce Resolution Condemning Terror Attack in Mogadishu



WASHINGTON — On the one-month anniversary of the October 14th terror attack on Mogadishu, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN), along with Reps. Steve Stivers (R-OH), Karen Bass (D-CA), Adam Smith (D-WA), Joyce Beatty (D-OH), Erik Paulsen (R-MN), Ruben Gallego (D-AZ), and Denny Heck (D-WA) introduced House Resolution 620, which condemns the attack, expresses sympathy for its victims and their families, and reaffirms U.S. support for Somalia.

The October 14th terror attack killed more than 350 people, including three American citizens, and injured another 200—making it the single deadliest in Somalia’s history.

“It’s been a month since the terrible and cowardly attack on Mogadishu, and my heart still breaks for the people of Somalia and their families and friends here in the United States,” Ellison said. “The people of Somalia have shown incredible resilience— coming together not only as part of an inspiring effort to recover from this attack, but also to rebuild their nation in the spirit of peace and prosperity. I am proud to stand with my colleagues to express solidarity with the people of Somalia by strongly condemning the senseless violence, extending our condolences to all those affected by the attack, and reaffirming continued U.S. support for Somalia.”

“Just over a month ago, Mogadishu experienced a horrific and tragic terrorist attack,” said Emmer. “This attack hit close to home with three of our fellow Americans – including one Minnesotan – among the more than 350 men, women and children who lost their lives far too soon. I stand with my colleagues and the Somali community to condemn last month’s attack. I am proud to work with my colleagues to offer condolences and lend support as Somalia works to rebuild itself and its communities in the wake of this recent tragedy. Today, and every day, we stand against terror and join together to rid this world of evil.”
The full text of the resolution reads as follows:

“Strongly condemning the terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017, and expressing condolences and sympathies to the victims of the attack and their families.

Whereas on October 14, 2017, a truck bomb filled with military grade and homemade explosives detonated at a busy intersection in the center of Mogadishu, Somalia, and took the lives of more than 350 people and injured more than 200 additional people;

Whereas at least three Americans, Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, Mohamoud Elmi, and Abukar Dahie, were killed in the attack;

Whereas the Somali Government believes that Al-Shabaab was responsible for the attack, although no official claims of responsibility have yet been made;

Whereas Al-Shabaab has previously avoided claiming responsibility for Al Shabaab operations when it believes the operation may significantly damage its public image among Somalis;

Whereas the Department of State condemned ‘‘in the strongest terms the terrorist attacks that killed and injured hundreds in Mogadishu on October 14’’;

Whereas the Department of State stated that ‘‘the United States will continue to stand with the Somali government, its people, and our international allies to combat terrorism and support their efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity’’;

Whereas according to the Department of State’s Country Report on Terrorism for 2016, Al-Shabaab is the most potent threat to regional stability in East Africa;

Whereas the United States continues to support counterterrorism efforts in coordination with the Government of Somalia, international partners, and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) mainly through capacity building programs, advise and assist missions, and intelligence support;

Whereas Somalia’s president, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, declared three days of national mourning in response to the attack;

Whereas the vibrant, bustling district of Mogadishu where the attack occurred is characteristic of the city’s revitalization, and the solidarity and efforts by the city’s residents to rebuild already are a testament to their resilience; and

Whereas Somalia has been a strong partner to the United States: Now, therefore, be it

Resolved, That the House of Representatives—

(1) strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Mogadishu, Somalia on October 14, 2017;

(2) expresses its heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies for the victims of the attack and their families;

(3) honors the memories of Ahmed AbdiKarin Eyow, Mohamoud Elmi, and Abukar Dahie, who were murdered in the horrific terrorist attack;

(4) recognizes the significant efforts to combat terrorism by the Government of Somalia, the countries contributing troops to the African Union Mission in Somalia, and United States forces in Somalia;

(5) reaffirms United States support for the Government of Somalia’s efforts to achieve peace, security, and prosperity and combat terrorism in Somalia; and

(6) renews the solidarity of the people and Government of the United States with the people and Government of Somalia.”

Continue Reading


Somali youth project update (Project TooSoo)



CBC —  For the past year, a group of young Somalis in Toronto has been learning how to re-claim the stories told about their community.

Continue Reading


Looking back on my Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace | Mo Farah



I recently had the honour of being knighted by Her Majesty The Queen at Buckingham Palace. When I came to the UK from Somalia aged 8, not speaking any English, who would have thought that my running would eventually lead me here? This was another very special gold medal for me and I am so honoured to have received it. Here’s a little glimpse of how the day went for me.

Continue Reading