Minnesota model makes history wearing hijab and burkini in Sports Illustrated

Future Productions/MGN Halima Aden

Halima Aden is no stranger to making waves and she’s done it again as the first model to don a hijab and burkini for Sports Illustrated’s Swimsuit issue.

Born in a Kenyan refugee camp and raised in St. Cloud, Minn., the Somali-American made headlines in 2016 as the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant where was a semi-finalist.

Since then, the 21-year-old phenom has coveted numerous international modeling gigs, including covers for British Vogue, Vogue Arabia and a New York Fashion Week debut in Kanye West’s Yeezy Season 5 show in 2017.

Her groundbreaking SI debut was shot on Watuma Beach in her birthplace of Kenya. “To grow up to live the American dream [and] 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 told SI during her shoot.

She added, “I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab. Don’t be afraid to be the first.” She’ll appear in the May 8th issue.

In addition to modeling, Aden also serves as a UNICEF ambassador and uses her platform to fight for various causes.

To see more of the SI shoot, go here.