Wearing the hijab isn't always easy. In a world where being a hijab-wearing woman sometimes makes you stick out like a sore thumb from the crowd, it can be hard to feel comfortable in your own skin sometimes.
So it's always incredibly inspiring when we come across hijab-wearing Muslimahs who've earned respect and recognition in their own fields--especially when it comes to the modelling industry!
Which is why Halima Aden, who made international headlines earlier this year by being the first ex-refugee Muslimah model to grace the cover of Vogue, deserves so much credit.
Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Halima's parents fled Somalia in the 90s, and she was raised amongst other refugees from other African countries before moving to Minnesota in the United States with her family at age 6.
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Despite moving to a completely different country at such a young age, Halima says her religion played a vital role in determining how she dressed and presented herself.
"I feel best when I am modestly dressed. It's a choice I make and am proud of; for me, I don't think I have to show skin to be beautiful. There is a misconception that young Muslim women are oppressed." - Halima Aden
Self-confidence seems to have always been her strong suit: wanting to step out of her comfort zone and win a scholarship, she proudly became the first Miss USA contestant to wear a hijab and a burkini.
Next to the other beauty pageant contestants, Halima held her own in a long blue swimsuit that covered her entire body except her face, hands, and feet.
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Though she didn't win the competition, it definitely wasn't the last the world saw of her. According to Halima, "It was because of my participation in the pageant that doors began opening in the modeling world. I think it's important to be diverse and I hope we continue to see that as a trend in the fashion industry."
And though she didn't win the competition, it was clear that she was meant for bigger things: at just 19 years old, Kanye West selected her as the first hijabi model to showcase his autumn/winter 2017 Yeezy collection.
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Soon enough, she landed her first debut editorial with legendary editor Carine Roitfeld and iconic fashion photographer Mario Sorrenti in CR Fashion Book's 10th issue.
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Needless to say, the offers didn't stop rolling in after that. She's since been on the cover of numerous elite fashion magazines, including Vogue, Allure, Glamour, and Harper's Bazaar!
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As of today, she's officially signed on to one of the world's top modelling agencies, IMG Models, which counts Gigi and Bella Hadid amongst its models.
Of her decision to pursue her dreams and become one of the first hijab-wearing supermodels in the world, Halima says what keeps her going is knowing that she's "impacted and set an example for young women" that staying true to yourself and your beliefs is key to achieving success in any line of work.
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With so much poise, elegance, confidence, and radiance, Halima's certainly one to watch for the next few years ?
"It's powerful to know that you can dress modestly and be beautiful." - Halima Aden