Sports Illustrated first: Swimsuit issue features model wearing a hijab and burkini

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Halima Aden has made history (again).Halima Aden has made history (again).

Image: Getty Images for UOMA Beauty

Somali-American model Halima Aden just made history as the first to ever wear a hijab and burkini in Sports Illustrated’s signature swimsuit issue.

The 21-year-old will appear in the May 2019 issue of the magazine with a series photographed by Yu Tsai at Kenya’s Watamu Beach.

For the shoot, Aden donned a collection of colourful hijabs and burkinis — a swimsuit that covers most of the body except the hands, feet, and face, which is worn by some Muslim women. 

And the pictures are absolutely stunning.

The burkini was originally created by Australian Muslim designer Aheda Zanetti in 2016 — the same year it became the subject of public debate in France after officials banned women from wearing burkinis on several beaches. It was a move slammed by many Muslim women at the time as sexist and Islamophobic.

In a video for Sports Illustrated, Aden called the opportunity to become a “burkini babe” for the magazine a dream come true.

“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,” she said in a Twitter video.

Aden grew up in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya before moving to the U.S. when she was 7. 

“I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden told Sports Illustrated during the shoot.

“So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya — I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”

Aden’s groundbreaking shoot has been met with high praise, notably from fellow models like Gigi Hadid, Winnie Harlow, and Duckie Thot, who shared the love on Twitter and Instagram.

It’s not the first time Aden has made history. In 2016, she became the first woman to wear a hijab onstage at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, in which she was a semi-finalist.

In March, she appeared in Vogue‘s first group hijabi cover alongside British model Ikram Abdi Omar and Amina Adan, the first hijabi model signed to a Danish modelling agency.

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This April, #VogueArabia celebrates modest fashion, with Halima Aden (@halima), Amina Adan (@amina_adan), and Ikram Abdi Omar (@ikramabdi), gracing our covers. In an issue dedicated to female empowerment, we catch up with US congresswoman Ilhan Omar, athletes Ibtihaj Muhammad and Zahra Lari, and CEO Ghizlan Guenez, among other inspirational women. Want to know more? Visit Vogue.me for the full scoop. Cover 1 of 4 في عدد أبريل، تحتفي #ڤوغ_العربية بالأزياء المحتشمة، مع حليمة آدن، وأمينة آدن، وإكرام عبدي عمر، واللواتي يتألقن على أغلفة هذا العدد المكرس لتمكين المرأة. وعلى صفحاته، نلتقي نائبة الكونغرس الأمريكي إلهان عمر؛ والبطلتين الرياضيتين ابتهاج محمد، وزهرة لاري؛ والرئيسة التنفيذية غزلان غينيز، وغيرهن من النساء الملهمات. هل ترغبون في قراءة المزيد؟ تفضلوا بزيارة موقع ڤوغ العربية لتطلعوا على جميع مواضيعه الحصرية. الغلاف الأول من بين الأغلفة الأربعة Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut (@mrarnaut) | Photography: Txema Yeste (@txemayeste) | Fashion Director: Katie Trotter (@katieellentrotter) | Make up: Karim Rahman (@karimrahmanmakeup) | Text: Christine van Deemter (@christine_vand)

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Aden’s issue of Sports Illustrated will appear on stands May 8.

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