Muslim model Halima Aden quits runway shows over religious beliefs

Muslim model Halima Aden quits runway shows over religious beliefs

Aden said she would keep modelling, but only if her hijab is "visible" in a way that is deemed appropriate to her.
26 Nov, 2020

Halima Aden, the Somali-American model who shot to fame as the first woman competitor in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant to wear a hijab and a burkini, is calling it quits on a fashion fraternity that is making her compromise on her beliefs.

The 23-year-old posted a series of Instagram stories detailing the inner turmoil that came with her line of work while balancing her identity as a practicing Muslim woman.

“I can only blame myself for caring more about opportunity than what was actually at stake,” she wrote.

She shared a shot of herself from the campaign she did for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, in which she's donning her black hijab, writing: “(Rihanna) let me wear the hijab I brought to set. This is the girl I’m returning to, the real Halima.”

She blamed the system as a whole and the fact that she was “a minority within a minority”, adding: “What I do blame the industry for is the lack of Muslim women stylists.”

Read: Kanye casts hijab-wearing model for his latest Yeezy collection

In an interview last year, Aden had spoken at length about feeling lost and what it meant to be the most high-profile modest model.

“Fellow Muslim sisters would send me DMs and even publicly tag me at the start of my career to say ‘stop dressing like an old woman’… which made me feel like I was doing something wrong … I remember wanting to be the ‘hot hijabi’ as if that didn’t just defeat the whole purpose,” she wrote. “A hot mess is what it was truthfully.”

Aden added she often put herself in difficult positions - including missing obligatory prayer times in the Islamic faith and agreeing to being draped with a pair of jeans in place of a headscarf for an American Eagle Outfitters shoot.

"But… this isn't even my style?? Never was. Why did I allow them to put jeans on my head when at the time I had only ever worn skirts and long dresses?"

"I went back to my hotel room & just sobbed after this shoot because deep down I knew this wasn't it. But was too scared to speak up. The truth is I was very UNCOMFORTABLE. This just ain't me."

Aden concluded that she would only model if her hijab is visible in a way that is deemed appropriate to her

"If my hijab can't be this visible, I'm not showing up, period. This is the standard moving forward if you want to work with me. Come correct or don't come at all."

Here's hoping this serves as a wake-up call for the fraternity to be more inclusive in the real sense of the word instead of just seeking out Muslim talent as a token of representation.


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AMBER GUL RASHID Nov 26, 2020 02:45pm
More power to you!
MG Nov 26, 2020 02:53pm
Personal choice...
Khayyam James Hussain Nov 26, 2020 03:14pm
Chrís Dăn Nov 26, 2020 03:15pm
It is entirely a personal matter. She is NOT supposed to make it a public issue even. She can ever return to her country Somalia back through scrapping her American nationality. No one has stopped her.
divergence Nov 26, 2020 03:18pm
This is a message for the people out there in world and working in many industries, who want to see Muslim women especially in a format which meets THEIR values. Everyone should be able to live the life and make choices which make them happy, not the world.
divergence Nov 26, 2020 03:22pm
@Chrís Dăn but world especially west wants to look at Muslim women as liberated, and that usually means lesser clothes
divergence Nov 26, 2020 03:24pm
@Chrís Dăn But she doesn't want to. America was once a land of free, where people could do whatever they wanted. Why do you want to make her choose between America and Hijab?
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Nov 26, 2020 03:33pm
Salute to Halima Eden for sticking to her religious beliefs and practices in a bold, brave, brilliant, blazing and beautiful fashion. Keep it up and hang on tough.
bhaRAT© Nov 26, 2020 04:05pm
Her body, her choice!
Southeast Asian Nov 26, 2020 05:43pm
Next step House of Representatives election in 2022 from Minneapolis which has substantial Somalian population and life set . You Go GIrl
Rahul S. Nov 26, 2020 05:44pm
It's her personal choice.
LgbtqX Nov 26, 2020 06:21pm
I don't think she can be a true practicing Muslim in a Western country.
Jahan Ara Nov 26, 2020 06:23pm
A brave girl in every way...
Jahan Ara Nov 26, 2020 06:25pm
@Chrís Dăn she is using her freedom to choose, or this freedom isn’t allowed to Muslims. If they ever express their choice people like you start using their negative mentality.
HonorBright Nov 26, 2020 07:02pm
Good luck, strong girl.
Ishant Nov 26, 2020 07:23pm
Hijab was never part of original islam. Wearing is purely personal choice.
Pious Man Nov 26, 2020 07:36pm
How pious of her!
Ali Nov 26, 2020 07:42pm
Funny thing is, if she was Pakistani, the comments here would have been extremely negative about her choice. But she is not, so you see people saying things like "It's her choice" and so on. Of course, it is her choice - whatever nationality/ethnic group/religion she belongs to.
AZAM AKBAR Nov 26, 2020 07:48pm
Zulfiqar Nov 26, 2020 08:09pm
@Chrís Dăn There is nothing personal about someone doing the right thing and letting others know about it. It’s your choice not to read about it
riz1 Nov 26, 2020 08:26pm
Let's just accept that our beliefs, customs, culture our very identity will never mix with other's view of customs, globalisation, modernity and acceptance. Meanwhile our devious neighbour will just keep adapting, accepting, evolving and partnering. Deja Vu about the Israelis and Palestinians nowadays. Even the pious Saudis seem to be reforming finally, as we devolve further from our liberal sixties. Praying for the best, Pakistan zindabad.
manzer Nov 26, 2020 09:02pm
Very brave lady. Many people give up everything for a lucrative career.
Taj Ahmad Nov 26, 2020 09:12pm
Be proud of being Muslim and with wearing hijab even more beautiful looking to your husband and respectful to others.
Dr. Salaria, Aamir Ahmad Nov 26, 2020 10:11pm
Where there is a strong will, there is always a way to live as per your conviction, creed, beliefs and values.
RationalBabu Nov 27, 2020 01:04am
Nobody forced her to do anything. If she can’t reconcile her inner conflict with the culture she chose to reside in she can always return home to Somalia and live in peace and happiness!
Rahul S. Nov 27, 2020 01:08am
She lives in a democratic country where she is free to make her choices. This is her personal belief which must be respected.
Rahul S. Nov 27, 2020 01:18am
She is a very beautiful Model. Sad to see her go....
Sayyar Khan Nov 27, 2020 03:11am
And when she started she was not a Muslim.
Multani Nov 27, 2020 03:52am
@Chrís Dăn Well said, is she making all these statements for cheap publicity , no one is forcing her to do anything against her wishes.
Vijay Nov 27, 2020 04:16am
She at least woke up, Al-Hamdolillah !
M.Siddhu Nov 27, 2020 06:47am
@Chrís Dăn :True!
M.Siddhu Nov 27, 2020 06:53am
Modelling is hard work, but is it truly a "line of work"? There is only so much shelf space and shelf life there , given the craving for vanity in life! Best Wishes! Teach!
rama Nov 27, 2020 07:26am
These people neither has understand of their religion nor they are liberals. They are making them self more sellable in the name of religion and liberal
H k Nov 27, 2020 08:56am
It's just muslims bring Islam into everything by it science or is simple as riding a bicycle, then they blame the secular society, it is not permitted in Islam to be a model, she revolted and became one then she was rightly guided by pious imams and she left modelling to become a good Muslim again... good for her... Allaha ho Akbar....
Tauseef Ahmad Nov 27, 2020 09:07am
Yes. Hijab is a must in any circumstance.
Laila Nov 27, 2020 08:00pm
First she establishes herself and makes a name in the fashion world of populism. Then she suddenly has a "religious awakening". How convenient. Just in time to assert her demands. I must have missed the hadith about modest modeling and showing off your beauty to the world including stranger random men. I thought beauty was for your husband only. How modest of her.
NYS Nov 28, 2020 11:07am
Pious and bold step indeed in this subjugatory world applaud
RationalBabu Nov 28, 2020 02:54pm
@Tauseef Ahmad no it certainly is not!
ravin Nov 28, 2020 04:32pm
She should go further and refused to be photographed like true Islamic believer