Kanye West didn’t quite make Halima Aden famous. But the Somali-American immigrant, 19, did walk her first-ever runway (wearing her hijab!) in his Yeezy season 5 fashion show the week before her debut magazine cover was unveiled.
Aden — who became the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss USA competition when she did so as Miss Minnesota in November — appears in her religious headpiece again as she covers Issue 10 of CR Fashion Book. Inside Carine Roitfeld’s glossy, Aden chats with fellow Muslim model Iman about her experience in the industry so far.
“I didn’t think about how many different people this would affect,” St. Cloud, Minnesota’s first Muslim homecoming queen told the magazine. “I went in thinking that I want something positive for young Muslim girls. But I’ve heard stories from parents who are Christians, telling me, ‘Thank you, I want my 7-year-old daughter to know that you don’t have to be half-naked to be beautiful.’”
Still, she doesn’t want to be the poster girl for her religion.
“I wish I could tell them, ‘Hey, I’m not a perfect Muslim,’” Aden, born in a Kenyan refugee camp, continued. “A lot of people had a misconception that I would be the perfect poster child for Islam. So I got a lot of Instagram comments like, ‘Oh, you don’t have your neck covered, you’re not a Muslim!’ My thing is, stop judging women, especially if you’re a man, because you don’t know the responsibility that comes with wearing a hijab.”
Ultimately, Aden, an aspiring United Nations ambassador, wants to “break the stereotype” associated with Islam. “I want to see this message spread,” she added. “As Muslims we just need more positive stories. Period.”
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