Muslim Model Appears in Sports Illustrated Wearing a Burkini

 Halima Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, will appear in the publication’s annual Swimsuit issue.

A Muslim model has become the first woman to appear in Sports Illustrated magazine wearing a burkini.

Halima Aden, who is Somali-American, featured in a spread in the magazine’s annual Swimsuit issue.

A burkini is a type of swimwear that covers the whole body except for the face, hands and feet, with the design intended to respect Islamic traditions of modest dress.

Aden was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in Kenya before moving to the US aged seven.


The model returned to Kenya for the Sports Illustrated shoot at Watamu Beach on the southeast coast.

Aden, who is also wearing in a hijab in the spread, said: “I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp.

“So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for the Sports Illustrated in the most beautiful parts of Kenya – I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up.”

The 21-year-old made headlines in 2016 when she became the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist.

In 2017 she became the first hijab-wearing model to appear on the front page of a major US magazine, when she featured on the cover of women’s publication Allure.

She has also appeared on the cover of British Vogue.


MJ Day, editor of Swimsuit, said: “We believe beauty knows no boundaries.

“I admire Halima, and I consider her an inspirational human for what she has decided to use her platform for and her work with Unicef as an ambassador.

“She is, in my opinion, one of the great beauties of our time, not only outside but inside.

“When we met, I was instantaneously taken by her intelligence, enthusiasm and authenticity.”

The 2019 edition of Swimsuit is set to be released on 8 May.


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