“Being featured in this year’s Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue will have such a great impact on women and young girls who have never seen someone who looks like them represented in the public eye,” the Somali-American model told Fox News in a written statement. “SI Swimsuit has been at the forefront of changing the narrative and conversation on social issues and preconceived notions. I’m hoping this specific feature will open doors up for my Somali community, Muslim community, refugee community and any other community that can relate to being different.”
Sports Illustrated announced that Halima Aden will make history as the first model to pose for its Swimsuit issue wearing a hijab and burkini.
Born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, Aden moved to the United States at age 7. However, Sports Illustrated brought her back to her home country for her rookie spread on Watamu Beach with photographer Yu Tsai.
“I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden said in the announcement from Sports Illustrated revealed Monday. “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.”
The Somali-American model previously made history at 19 years old by competing in the Miss Minnesota U.S.A. pageant as the first person to ever wear a hijab and burkini during the show. She made it to the semi-finals of the competition. — Yu Tsai
Day continued: “We both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective. We both know that women are so often perceived to be one way or one thing based on how they look or what they wear. Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.”