Halima Aden is taking the world by storm! Following her debut at New York Fashion Week, during Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 show, the 19-year-old instantly became the name to know in modeling. Here are the five things we think will help you get to know her a little better.
Halima Aden, 19, is making waves and history in the fashion industry. Her star shot into the zeitgeist on Feb. 15 after walking in Kanye West‘s Yeezy Season 5 show for New York Fashion Week. Wearing a hijab, the Muslim model stood in stark contrast to Donald Trump‘s nationalistic, “America First” foreign policy. Kanye himself distanced himself from the President ahead of the presentation, deleting any reference to the former reality star from his Twitter. Well now, thanks to rising interest Halima, we’ve put together a little list of things that you should know about the new face of fashion.
1) She is the first Muslim woman to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing a hijab.
Halima competed in the 2016 Miss Minnesota USA pageant wearing a hijab throughout the entire competition. It was a first for the organization, which didn’t hesitate to approve her participation request. “The Miss Universe Organization is a company run by women, for women, built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity,” Denise Wallace, executive co-director of Miss Minnesota USA, told the Today Show. Halima, who finished in the top 15, was also allowed to wear a burkini during the pageant’s swimsuit portion.
2) She’s already been signed to IMG Models.
IMG Models signed Halima just five days before her runway debut at NYFW. She is the first hijab-wearing model attached to the famed agency. Joining the likes of Gigi & Bella Hadid, Lily Aldridge, Miranda Kerr, Gisele Bündchen, Joan Smalls, Kaia Gerber, and Ashley Graham, she is in good company and has already landed five jobs. “I felt like: Finally. I get to represent. I get to be the change I wanted to see for other young Muslim women,” Halima tells People, “and just for women in general, to never change and stay true to themselves.”
3) She was born in a refugee camp.
Halima is a Somali-American, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp. She immigrated to America with her mother when she was just six years old. Now, she calls St. Cloud, Minnesota her hometown.
4) She’s in college at St. Cloud University.
It might be safe to assume that Halima is taking the semester off, but she is enrolled as a freshman at St. Cloud University in Minnesota. And although she hasn’t made mention of the President’s stance on Muslims, she told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that her goal is to become a U.N. ambassador after graduation.
5) The pageant circuit was more accepting of her participation than the Muslim community.
As we mentioned above, Miss Minnesota organizers didn’t think twice before allowing her to wear whatever she felt comfortable in. Commenters online, however, described her display as “haram” or forbidden by Islamic law. Essentially, Islam considers it a sin to alter ones appearance like one would during the beautifying process required by pageants.
HollywoodLifers, what do you make of Halima’s rising star? Can you imagine going out on a limb like she has, in such a public way?