Among the young women in last year’s Miss Minnesota USA pageant was Halima Aden who competed in a hijab and a burqini.
“I wear hijab every day, you know.So it’s like if I’m gonna try something new I’m gonna take that part with me.And it was just no brainer.”
The Somali-American teen was not crowed Miss Minnesota, but she did win a contract with a major modeling agency.The first who hijab-wearing model to sign with the top agency.The world of high fashion is a far cry from the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya where Aden was born.Before her family left for the United States she had a diverse group of playmates.
“Different people, different refugees from all over Africa came together in Kakuma, yet we still found common ground.The kids like we played all of us and you know we celebrated each other’s holidays, family things.There’s not that many opportunities in Kakuma so and it was Christmas best believer all gonna celebrate and when it’s eve we all celebrated that, too.”
She says that’s not always the case in the United States but her job is becoming a more familiar sight in the American fashion.Nike will launch a breathable meshy hijab next year.And American Eagle Outfitters created a denim hijab with Aden as its main model.Aden was featured on the June cover of Vogue magazine and in July she graced the cover of the Beauty magazine a lure.
“She truly is just like a normal teenage girl, a normal American teenage girl.So I think that for us gainly, our mission being, we want to redefine what beauty standards are.I think she’s someone who so amazingly representative of who we are as America, as a melting pot.It just totally made sense for us.”
As Aden enjoys her current success, she remains grateful for the UN efforts in Kakuma.She hopes to return to the camp one day to work with refugee children to show them they also have the potential to become international stars.
I’m Faith Lapidus VOA News Washington.