Somali-American model Halima Aden will be the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, an annual edition perhaps best known for its pictures of bikini-clad models frolicking on the beach, the magazine said.
It was not clear if Aden would be the first Muslim model to appear in the swimsuit issue, which has been published for decades. But the magazine said she would be the first Muslim model to appear wearing a burkini, a full-body swimsuit worn by some observant Muslim women.
Aden referred to herself as a “burkini babe” in a video shared on Twitter by the magazine and called her appearance in Sports Illustrated “a dream come true.”
“Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab,” Aden said in the video.
“Ladies, anything is possible,” Aden wrote on Instagram. “Being in Sports Illustrated is so much bigger than me. It’s sending a message to my community and the world that women of all different backgrounds, looks, upbringings … can stand together and be celebrated.”
Aden was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in northeastern Kenya and moved to the United States when she was 7. She returned to Kenya for the photo shoot, the magazine said, and was photographed by Yu Tsai on Watamu Beach on the Indian Ocean.
The swimsuit issue will be on newsstands on May 8, Sports Illustrated said in a statement.