Halima Aden becomes first model to wear a burkini in Sports Illustrated

Halima Aden has become the first model to feature in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue wearing a burkini – and this isn't her first time breaking boundaries...

Who is Halima Aden?

Model Halima Aden may only be 21 years old, but she has already broken multiple boundaries in the world of beauty and fashion.

She was born in Kakuma, a refugee camp in Kenya, after her family fled the civil war in Somalia. According to her modelling agents at IMG, she lived there for seven years with her parents before moving to the United States, where they settled in Minnesota.


She quickly picked up the English language and exceeded expectations in school. She made a strong impression on classmates; becoming her high school’s first Muslim/Somali homecoming queen.


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In her modelling bio, Halima says this was one of her proudest achievements. "There was never a student [like me] nominated before. Homecoming queen is a very important American cultural tradition, and my win inspired other girls in my town," she said.

Wanting to make a difference, Halima went on to become her college's first Muslim-Somali student senator. What's more, she also became the first contestant in the Miss USA pageant to wear a hijab, as well as a burkini in the swimsuit segment of the competition.

Halima has since gone on to star in Elle, Harper's Bazaar and Glamour magazines, to name but a few.

Sports Illustrated

Today, Halima Aden is trending on social media for a new reason. She is officially the first woman to feature in Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue wearing a burkini; a full-body swimsuit often worn by Muslim women.


The beautiful photoshoot was carried out in Kenya; highlighting how far the 21-year-old has come since childhood.

Speaking in a video shared by the magazine, she said, "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".

She also referred to herself as "a burkini babe".

Then, in a post on Instagram, Halima said, "Don’t change yourself... Change the GAME! Ladies, anything is possible.

"Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, and upbringings can stand together and be celebrated.


"Thank you so much to the entire team for giving me this incredible opportunity".


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Photo: Halima Aden via Instagram

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