From beauty pageants to magazine covers, Halima Aden is redefining beauty standards and breaking down industry boundaries.
The 19-year-old, who’s featured in the July issue of Allure, is the first hijab-wearing model to appear on the cover. In her interview, she discusses her religion and why it’s important for her to stay covered.
“Society puts so much pressure on girls to look a certain way,” she tells Allure. “I have much more to offer than my physical appearance, and a hijab protects me against ‘You’re too skinny,’ ‘You’re too thick,’ ‘Look at her hips,’ ‘Look at her thigh gap.’ I don’t have to worry about that.”
Last year, the Somalian-American teen made history as the first person to wear a hijab in a pageant, competing for the Miss Minnesota USA title, People reports.
“For a really long time I thought being different was a negative thing,” Aden told CBS Minnesota. “But as I grew older, I started to realize we were all born to stand out, nobody is born to blend in. How boring would this world be if everyone was the same?”
Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, Aden moved the U.S. with her mom when she was seven and grew up in St. Cloud, Minn., according to Allure.
Aden is also making waves in the fashion world, walking for major designers like Yeezy, Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti earlier this year.
While she’s dealt with bullying in the past over her religious choices, Aden says the best way to combat it is by refusing to think of it as a problem.
“If you think people are against you and that you’re a target, things will start appearing that way. I just go about my day, and I don’t think anyone is out to get me,” she told Allure.