Halima Aden: First Muslim Woman to Wear A Hijab On the Runway


If you follow runway fashion, chances are you’ve heard of Halima Aden. At 21 years old, Aden is making history as the first Muslim woman to wear a hijab in fashion shows. Born in a Kenyan refugee camp after her family escaped the Somali civil war, Aden arrived in the States speaking no English and feeling self-conscious of her outsider status. Years later, she’s catapulted from high school homecoming queen to a contract with IMG. Not one to sacrifice her core beliefs for a job, she had wearing a hijab written into her contract. Now a UNICEF Ambassador, Aden also uses her new platform to advocate for Muslin representation and refugee rights. Per her conversation with Forbes, she shows no signs of slowing down. She recently returned to her Kenyan birthplace, which inspired her to not only inspire the children there to make lives for themselves, but also to remain authentic in her identity. “People are so busy chasing after an image that’s no theirs or wanting to be like the girl they saw on Instagram,” she says. “Instead of looking in the mirror and embracing the queen that they see right in front of them.”

For Further Reading

Halima Aden isn’t the only Muslim woman making incredible change. Read here about the women breaking barriers in sex education in Myanmar.  


Discussion Question

What other identities do you think are missing from runway fashion?


Action Item

Consume media consciously—remember to consider not only what you see, but what you don’t see.

Read more on Forbes | Image: Dream Refugee