When Aden was asked to comment on the photo shoot, she told Sports Illustrated that the opportunity to become a "burkini babe" for the magazine was a dream come true.
At a time when a much-need women's revolution is happening across many sports, a mere photoshoot has now turned into history as Somali-American model Halima Aden became the first model to wear a hijab and burkini for the Sports Illustrated magazine's annual swimsuit issue. According to the magazine, the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit featuring the 21-year-old Muslim model Halima Aden will be released on May 8, reports Harpers Bazaar.
Photographed by Yu Tsai at Kenya's Watamu Beach, Aden is seen wearing a collection of colorful hijabs and burkinis. The garment covers most of the body except the hands, feet, and face. Aden moved to the USA when she was 7 after being born and raised in Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya.
When she was asked to comment on the photoshoot, she told Sports Illustrated that the opportunity to become a "burkini babe" for the magazine was a dream come true.
"Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab.I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp," Aden told Sports Illustrated during the shoot.
"So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya — I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up."
When the photoshoot made the rounds of social media, Aden was lauded for her achievement, and it included fellow models like Gigi Hadid, Winnie Harlow, and Duckie Thot, who expressed their excitement on Twitter and Instagram.
Even social media users have been heaping praises on the model for creating history with Sports Illustrated. "Women choosing to cover up or not is beautiful, yes. Not everyone should have to wear a bikini to go to the beach," a Twitter user said.
Meanwhile, a few others have a different opinion on the photoshoot. "It’s not progressive to have someone on the cover of sports illustrated in a burkini. a burka is worn to stay modest, so posing like this on the cover is so hypocritical. this has nothing to do w diversity and everything to do w trying to be the most woke," a Twitter user said.
That magazine will not sale in Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq and any number of Muslim countries. What is the point and what is SI trying to prove?— Ronnie Puckett (@ronniepuckett) April 29, 2019
It is not their choice in Muslim countries like Iran where the consequences of refusing can be death— Gabe, Bella, and their humom Susan (@SWestler) April 29, 2019
Another Twitter user added: "This is a strictly American version of both. She'd never get away with it in a strict Muslim country. That being said, she wears it well, but would sink like a stone trying to swim in it. As the sailors would say, "She's down by the bow."
Aden is known in the fashion industry for previously competing in several beauty pageants. When she was 19 years old, Aden participated in the Miss Minnesota USA competition and reportedly wore a hijab throughout the event. And that's not all. She also wore a burkini during the swimwear portion of the event.
However, she could only make it until the semi-finals of the event. But there was a silver lining. She eventually signed with IMG Models, that works with top models like Gisele Bundchen, Alek Wek, and many other Victoria's Secret Angels.