- Model Halima Aden makes history as the first model to wear a burkini and hijab in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue in the magazine’s 55-year history.
- Her editorial was photographed in Kenya, where she was born and grew up until she was seven years old.
- Aden, 21, responded to the milestone on Instagram, saying her shoot is “sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings… can stand together and be celebrated.”
Model Halima Aden made Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue history by becoming the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the magazine. While the annual issue has been around since 1964 and has given us legends such as Tyra Banks, Christy Brinkley, and Kate Upton (who famously sported barely-there bathing suits), this year’s installment marks the first time the magazine has incorporated these modest styles into its editorials.
Aden, who is Somali-American, was born in Kenya and lived at the Kakuma Refugee Camp until she was seven years old before moving to the U.S., according to SI Swim. Her editorial came full circle when the crew photographed the 21-year-old model in her picturesque homeland.
“We brought her to both the turquoise water and white sand beaches of coastal Malindi and the mind-blowing Masai Mara at Hemingway’s Ol Seki Mara Camp,” editor M.J. Day told People. “Everything she saw was a first for her, and when we touched down on the airstrip on the Mara, there were giraffes roaming around, just seemingly waiting for us right there and she just lost it.”
For Aden, the opportunity to take part in a momentous shoot without compromising her morals and values is both exciting and validating. She posted a stunning image from the shoot and behind-the-scenes video to her Instagram, along with an empowering caption:
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 & the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity.