Halima Aden: Muslim Girl Breaks Barriers

Halima Aden: Muslim Girl Breaks Barriers
To diversify the representation of women in today's media, Halima Aden took part in the Miss Minnesota USA state pageant in November 2016. The 19-year-old became the first hijabi model to compete in the contest and sport a burqini in the swim-wear round. Though, she did not win the crown, but she has been receiving many 'consolation prizes' recently inclusive of a cover of CR Fashion Book, fashion campaigns, representation by IMG Models, runway gigs at New York and Milan fashion weeks and global media coverage according to Cosmopolitan.

Halima came back to the pageant sphere as a judge for Sunday's 2017 Miss USA competition. She spoke about prepping for the grand night in Vegas -- what she looks for in a beauty queen and what she hopes to look up-to as a role model.

When asked what inspired her to be a part of the pageants, Halima said,

“Growing up, I couldn’t relate to anybody I saw in the media. I couldn’t pick a magazine or a channel and see someone who resembled me, or had [a similar] story. I wanted to change that.”

She realised that in the world of today, people could use a positive image or a person that can represent Muslim women,

“As for Miss USA… everyone knows the Miss Universe organisation. I think everyone tunes in for, or at least knows about, the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. So I knew that if I wanted to give pageants a try, it would be the right organisation for me,” she further added.

The model revealed that she had lots to sort out before she pursued her career as a model,

“My family is first-generation American. For my mom, this is a totally different culture. She escaped civil war in Somalia, went to a refugee camp in Kenya and got us here. Her dreams were to see me educated, so I get why she was a little hesitant at first.”

“We had to talk about it a lot and I told her that education is important to me too, I’m in college now but taking a semester off, to look at it from all sides. I explained that, you might not know because you didn’t grow up here but I did and I didn’t get to see Muslim women represented and that affected me. It was just a matter of walking her through [my plans] step by step. But she’s now onboard!”

And then came the pageant,

“Honestly, I didn’t worry much about what my gown was going to look like or what my walk would be. I mean, I’m not picky but I didn’t even get my outfit until two days before the pageant! And my makeup artist hooked me up with the skirt I wore, which belonged to one of the girls who was competing for Miss Teen Minnesota USA” she revealed.

“It was all about the sisterhood! I was excited to have fun and to meet the other girls. I wanted to make new friends. These are all women who’ve accomplished so much at the local level, so why not? You can come home with a great network of women. Everyone was so welcoming and I did go home with a few new friends.”

  • In: Lifestyle