In big modelling news today, IMG has revealed it has just signed hijab-wearing model Halima Aden. Halima is Somali-American and was born in a Kenyan refugee camp before being scouted as a model. She will make her runway debut this week for Kanye West's Yeezy show, catapulting her into the spotlight.
Bazaar's global fashion director Carine Roitfeld has also taken note of Aden, shooting her for the next edition of the CR Fashion Book, due out in March. "Halima is breaking boundaries of beauty and perception," Carine told Business of Fashion. "I find this incredibly inspiring and I know she will be an icon."
Halima first made headlines in November of last year when she appeared in the Miss USA competition representing Minnesota wearing a hijab, as well as a burkini for the swimsuit parade. Ivan Bart, the president of IMG Models, said of Halima, "I found that she was just so brave to stick to what she really believed in and yet go after the American dream of being in a beauty contest. We'll see how the industry reacts to Halima and works with the restrictions or not. It doesn't negate the fact that we want to represent her. And it doesn't negate the fact that already Carine Roitfeld has found her as appealing as we have." He also added that the agency was committed to promoting diversity in its models. "By representing Halima, I would hope that the next 10-year-old girl wearing her hijab right now will feel included in the experience of fashion, and know that she could do that too. We need to reflect in fashion who we are as a human race."
Talking to BoF, Halima admitted that growing up without a covered role model in the public eye to look up to was difficult. "That was a struggle for me," she says. But now Halima will be that role model for millions of women and girls across the globe, starting from this week. "I wanted to spread a positive message about beauty and diversity and to show other young Muslim women that there is room for them." Amen sister.