Halima Aden continues to make history!
The 21-year-old model is officially the first woman to rock a hijab and a burkini in the 2019 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
According to SI, they shot the Somalian-American teen’s spread in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp. When she was 7, her family moved to the U.S.
“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Halima said.
“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.”
On Instagram, she reminded her fans that you don’t have to assimilate in order to be considered beautiful.
“Don’t change yourself .. Change the GAME!! Ladies anything is possible!!!” she wrote on Monday.
“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.”
For the issue she wore two different burkinis: a black one by No Ka’Oi and a multi-colored style by Cynthia Rowley, Yahoo News noted.
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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.
“We believe beauty knows no boundaries,” said SI Swimsuit editor MJ Day on their choosing Halima to be part of their iconic brand.
“I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with Unicef as an ambassador. She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside. When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”
It’s been a fantastic 2019 for Halima, who rocked became part of the first-ever all-Black Vogue Arabia cover for the magazine’s April issue:
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To think that just 3 years ago there was not a single Hijabi model and now fast forward to the first Vogue Hijabi group cover 🙏🏾♥️ Huge thanks to @mrarnaut & @voguearabia for releasing this monumental cover on Muslim Women’s Day. And major congrats to my fellow Somali Queens @amina_adan & @ikramabdi !!😍🎉 #hooyowemadeit #hijabisgetinformation
As SI pointed out, Halima first made waves when she was 19-years-old becoming the first woman to wear the modest swimwear in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant (she was the second-runner up). She then went on to sign with IMG, becoming the first hijab-wearing model to sign a contract with the agency.
The Sport’s Illustrated Swimsuit issue will hit newsstands on May 8.