“I’m taking a stand for myself but I’m also taking a stand for all the people who lost their soul to fashion,”- Hijab wearing supermodel abdicates fashion industry reckoning with ‘Islamic Values’
Halima Aden, an African-American supermodel, dismisses her 4 years’ renowned fashion career saying, it was pressurized to trade-off her religious belief in exchange for name and fame. The Black Muslim woman roved cover girl for British Vogue, Vogue Arabia, Allure and even on runways like New York Fashion Week.
She came under the spotlight in 2016, at the age of 18, as the first hijabi Muslim model in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Then she traversed one after another top spot in Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty campaigns and Kanye West’s Yeezy brand and Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue, wearing a hijab and full-body burkini.
This 23-year-old was born and grew up in Kenyan refugee camp as a Somalian refugee. Her family moved to the United States in 2005, when she was 7 years of age.
Speaking about her mother, Rukia Ahmed Aden, she highly remarked that this woman was her primary inspiration behind such a groundbreaking decision made by her. She said her mother puts value to education, more than modeling, and she is the one who implanted ‘Deen over Duniya’ into her norm.
On the answer to a question, she acknowledged that her mother never appreciated her career as a model; though, she claimed to start her journey to earn her college money. She regrets saying, “My mom asked me to quit modeling a long time ago. I wish I wasn’t so defensive. She was the only person who had the purest intentions for me. The advice she gave me was, ‘Deen over Duniya.’ And her stance was never once changed.”
“Modesty is not for one culture, it is not for one group of women. Modesty is the oldest fashion staple. It has been around since the beginning of time. It is going to be around for another 100 years. It’s an option, just another option for people to participate in.”
She mentioned the Covid-19 break as the turning point of her life. She used the time to review her values.
The call for backtrack was admired by singer Rihanna and model sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid. The Instagram and Twitter followers of her also supported the decision saying, it is a bold stance against the industry. In one of the IG stories she quoted,
“I can only blame myself for caring more about opportunity than what was actually at stake.”
In another BBC interview in February, this year, she said, “Modesty is not for one culture, it is not for one group of women. Modesty is the oldest fashion staple. It has been around since the beginning of time. It is going to be around for another 100 years. It’s an option, just another option for people to participate in.”