There's someone at the Yeezy Season 5 show at the 2017 New York Fashion Week that's making waves, and no, it's not Kanye West.
Rather, it's one of West's models, Halima Aden. Aden walked in the Yeezy Season 5 show, and she turned heads for more than one good reason. Aden is the first hijab-wearing model for Yeezy. She is breaking barriers and stigmas like a flippin' whiz kid and she is only 19 years old. Can you believe this? But the Yeezy accomplishment is just one of the many amazing things this young woman, activist, model and possible future leader of the free world should be known for. Aden is an intriguing woman indeed.
In a recent profile for Vogue, we learned that Aden was born in a Kenyan refugee camp. Additionally, Aden is a first-generation Somali-American and is currently a freshman at St. Cloud University in Minnesota. Between being a (presumably) ace college student and modeling, I'd say Aden is killing the game right now.
Halima Aden,19-yearold Somali-American woman became the first contestant in history to wear a hijab during the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant pic.twitter.com/sQvOPxRS6w— Η α β ι β α (@Habiba_Kim) January 22, 2017
Oh yeah, did I mention that she is also a former beauty pageant contestant? Aden made headlines for becoming the first hijab-wearing woman — are you sensing a trend? — to compete for Miss Minnesota in 2016. Aden competed against 45 other women, and while she did not win, she did break down some barriers. Most important of these was giving a voice to Muslim women's beauty and how it can present itself in the beauty pageant circuit.
Aden is no slouch or glassy-eyed millennial when it comes to voicing her opinions. On her Instagram, Aden has posted a few photos in support of various issues: her support for Syrian refugees, her support for #NoDAPL and the promotion of the International Day of Peace. I think it could be fair to say that Aden's rising star in the modeling industry will afford her a platform to speak up for the causes she believes in; I'm certainly interested in hearing more from her.
Consider this another major barrier broken: Aden became the first hijab-wearing woman to be signed with IMG Models. With any luck, we'll be able to say Aden got the ball rolling when it came to seeing more hijab-wearing Muslim women getting signed to modeling agencies.
Let's pause for a moment of sweetness: Aden wears braces! But obviously she not letting that stop her from smiling (which is what happened to me when I wore braces) and instead shows them off. They're part of what makes her beautiful and what helps reshape what society perceives as beautiful too.
At this point, you've probably sensed that there's a trend for Aden's newfound fame, and it's that her hijab has become a factor in her fame. Let's correct that matter: She might be the first woman to get signed to IMG Models or walk in a Yeezy fashion show who also wears a hijab, but that is not the only reason to take note. She is using her position and circumstances to create conversations and pave the way for other women. Iconic.
Aden bringing awareness to the belief that Muslim women are just as beautiful and worthy or praise as women in other religious communities and communities of color. She is managing to do this through her ascent to the top in the modeling world. In the aforementioned Vogue profile, Aden stated, "My goal is to send a message to Muslim women and young women everywhere that it’s okay to break stereotypes and be yourself. Always stay true to who you are — barriers can and will be broken!" Yes, queen.
But the most important thing to know? She's beautiful, inside and out. I mean, can you even? Because I can't.
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