MODEL HALIMA Aden has opened up about being forced to compromise her religious beliefs because of her career in fashion in a series of posts on Instagram.
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Aden, who is Muslim and wears a hijab, revealed that she would never again participate in runway shows or travel to take part in the major biannual fashion weeks in London, Paris, New York and Milan.
“The could call me tomorrow and not even for $10 million would I ever risk compromising my hijab again,” Aden said.
She added: “I’m guarding my hijab unlike ever before.”
In the stream of posts shared via Instagram stories, Aden highlighted specific campaigns and shoots where she was unhappy with the way that her hijab had been styled or had been replaced by items of clothing.
In one photo the 23-year-old shared she was pictured wearing a pair of jeans on her head.
She also shone a light on instances where she felt she had been supported to embrace her identity as a hijab-wearing woman, sharing pictures of herself modelling in a campaign for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty. “Sis let me wear the hijab I brought to set. This is the girl I’m returning to. The real Halima,” she said.
Aden added: “My hijab was never the problem – I realize [sic] that today … it was trying to fit into a society that was not made for me. That’s the ugly truth!”
Aden has credited her mother, Rukia Ahmed Aden, who fled Somalia during the civil war, for encouraging her to walk away from certain situations regardless of the money at stake, revealing that her mother asked her to quit modelling a long time ago.
“My hooyo macaan (mother) has been pleading with me for years to open my eyes. Thanks to Covid and the break away from the industry I have finally realised where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey,” Aden wrote.
Her honesty has been welcomed by fellow models and other Muslim women, who have expressed solidarity and described her journey as inspiring.
Leomie Anderson shared one of Aden’s posts along with the caption: “Please everyone go and read [Halima’s Instagram] story and learn more about her journey as a hijabi model in the industry and how it’s easy as a minority to feel you need to change in order to be accepted. It’s so important that we share our stories to inspire future generations to find their voice!”
Models Ugbad Abdi, Bella Hadid and Gigi Hadid also shared their support for Aden.
Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, became the first model to wear a hijab on the cover of British Vogue when she appeared on the front of the fashion magazine in 2018.