Halima Aden isn't your average Minnesota teen. The 19-year-old Somali American just scored a major contract with IMG, marking the agency's first hijab-wearing model. The Kenya-born teen caught everyone's attention in 2016 while representing Minnesota in a competition for Miss USA, where she wore a burkini during the pageant's famous swimsuit round and her hijab throughout. Little did she know that a career in modeling was about to take off.
"I didn't really have modeling in mind," Aden tells Business of Fashion. "I wanted to spread a positive message about beauty and diversity, and to show other young Muslim women that there is room for them." Not only is Aden making fashion history, but her career is also budding at an impressive pace. She's featured in the next issue of CR Fashion Book in a shoot by Mario Sorrenti and is making her fashion week debut at Kanye West's Yeezy Season 5 show, at Carine Roitfeld's suggestion. Despite her early start in the business, Roitfeld is already Aden's biggest champion in the fashion industry, telling Business of Fashion, "Halima is breaking boundaries of beauty and perception by being herself. I find this incredibly inspiring, and I know she will be an icon."
For more on diversity in fashion, read about one star who is setting an example about body image, and shop our favorite 2017 trends.
What do you think of IMG's latest model to score a contact? Share your thoughts in the comments.