Fashion model and former refugee Halima Aden, who is breaking boundaries as the first hijab wearing model gracing magazine covers and walking in high profile runway shows has her makeup applied during a shoot at a studio in New York
Fashion model and former refugee Halima Aden, who is breaking boundaries as the first hijab wearing model gracing magazine covers and walking in high profile runway shows has her makeup applied during a shoot at a studio in New York City, U.S .August 28, 2017. Photo taken August 28, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Ms Aden, 19, grew up in Kakuma, one of the biggest refugee camps in the world, before relocating to the United States with her mother when she was only seven.

She rose to fame after participating in the 2016 Miss Minnesota pageant, becoming the first ever contestant to compete in a hijab and burkini.

Since then, she has gone on to become one of the modelling world’s most famous stars, walking the runway for brands like Max Mara and Yeezy.

Ms Aden fondly recalled her time at the refugee camp telling Reuters: “Different people, different refugees from all over Africa came together in Kakuma. Yet we still found a common ground.”

Who says you can't wear earrings with hijab 😴✨ @alexcayleystudio @graziauk

A post shared by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

She told Allure magazine that she started wearing the hijab at the age of eight by imitating her mother.

“Every little girl looks up to her mom so much – that’s your first hero,” she said.

In her interview with Allure, the successful model opened up about her rise to stardom, religion, and why she chooses to wear the hijab.

“Society puts so much pressure on girls to look a certain way,” she said. “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.”

Following her success in New York, she has walked on the international runways of Italian fashion houses Max Mara and Alberta Ferretti, alongside other supermodels Gigi Hadid and Liu Wen.

About last night 🦋

A post shared by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

The hijab is now going mainstream, with advertisers, media giants and fashion firms promoting images of the traditional headscarf in ever more ways.

“I am doing me and I have no reason to think that other people are against me,” Aden said. “So I just guess I’m oblivious.”

Aden said she is content being a champion for diversity in the modelling industry, but in the future, she hopes to return to Kakuma to work with refugee children.

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