Halima Aden: From Kenyan Refugee Camp to Running Campaigns for Rihanna, Kanye West

  • Model Halima Aden and Singer Rihanna
    Model Halima Aden and Singer Rihanna
    Twitter
  • US Muslim fashion model, Halima Aden, is among the top personalities making it big abroad despite going through a tough life growing up.

    Halima was born in Somalia before her parents were compelled to flee seeking refuge in Kenya. In the country, she found herself living in the Kakuma refuge camp for the better part of her early life.

    Her breakthrough in life came at the age of seven, where her family got an opportunity to move to the US.

    In the US, Halima's star started shining bright. Her first shot to worldwide fame was at the age of 19 years when she was hailed the first supermodel to don a hijab. 

    She continued scaling the heights after she was chosen to run campaigns for Rihanna and Kanye West's clothing labels. The Barbadian Singer, Rihanna, owns Fenty while rapper Kanye owns Yeezy and now Donda.

    US Model Halima Aden During Her Magazine Shoot
    US Model Halima Aden During Her Magazine Shoot
    Twitter

    She impressively signed with IMG Models in February 2017, and that same month, she made her runway debut in Kanye West's Yeezy show.

    Halima, during her career, has modeled for the likes of Marc Jacobs, Alberta Ferreti, and Fenty, and has covered Vogue Arabia, CR Fashion Book, Allure, and British Vogue in a hijab.

    However, despite all the wins, Halima still has a long way to go. In her recent interview, she opened up about an industry where models are treated as 'disposable' and 'replaceable'.

    Halima narrated how her hijab appeared to shrink with every shoot as soon as she started being styled by stylists - to the point in which she was asked where her hijab was.   

    "Despite me saying, 'Don't change yourself, change the game', that was exactly what I was doing," she narrated, adding how one magazine cover made her look like a 'white man's fetishised version' of herself.  

    She added: "I'm not saying it's not right for other Muslim, hijab-wearing women, I'm saying it was not right for me. I wear a hijab, I'm a Muslim, I'm Somali, so yes, all these identities set me up to be the perfect token to check all the boxes. I felt like one of the biggest tokens in the industry. I always felt like an outsider in my own career." 

    She also recalled being compelled to compromise her religion in one of the modeling occasions which she rejected.

    Halima Aden Wearing Hijab During Her Cover Photography Shoot
    Halima Aden Wearing Hijab During Her Cover Photography Shoot
    Twitter