If you’re one of Gigi Hadid‘s 29.6 million Instagram followers, you may already recognize upcoming model Halima Aden.
19-year-old Halima—a Somali American born in a Kenyan refugee camp who happens to wear a Hijab—just scored a major contract with IMG Models, the same agency that represents Hadid, Ashley Graham, Karlie Kloss and Kate Moss.
But this isn’t the first time the young beauty has made international headlines for breaking boundaries. Last November, Halima competed in Minnesota’s Miss USA beauty competition and fearlessly rocked a hijab and burkini for the swimwear portion of the contest.
Halima Aden starts off Miss Minnesota USA's swimsuit segment to big cheers from the crowd. Announcer: "She's making history tonight." pic.twitter.com/OUvbHv6xct
— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) November 27, 2016
Halima’s fierce walk caught the eye of IMG’s president Ivan Bart, one of the most influential powers in the world of modelling. “I found that she was just so brave to stick to what she really believed in and yet go after the American dream of being in a beauty contest,” he told Business of Fashion. “We’ll see how the industry reacts to Halima and works with the restrictions or not.”
It looks like the fashion world is accepting her with open arms. Halima made her NYFW debut at Kanye West‘s highly anticipated Yeezy 5 show and will appear in the next issue of CR Fashion Book, which hits newsstands in March.
Her future looks bright.
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