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Halima Aden – The First Women Photographed in a Burkini

Halima Aden’s dream has finally come true.

A magazine that goes by the name of Sports Illustrated has decided to launch an issue that will be best known for its pictures of bikini-clad models posing on the beach. At first it was no clear if Halima Aden was going to be the first Muslim model on the swimsuit issue but it turned out that she is not only the first Muslim model to be featured but she will be photographed in a burkini, a full-body swimsuit worn by some observant Muslims.

Calling herself a “burkini babe”, Halima is surely feeling ecstatic about this opportunity.

In a video tweeted by the Sports Illustrated she told how she “never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab.”

She took to Instagram to later express her feeling regarding this.

Ladies, anything is possible,” she wrote. “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.”


A life that started from a refugee camp, Aden has come a long way. She was born in the Kakuma refugee camp in northeastern Kenya and moved tot he United States when she was 7. This enigmatic woman was photographer by Yu Ysai on Watamu Beach on the Indian Ocean.

The swimsuit issue is set to hit the newsstands on May 8.

The thought behind this issue is even more imperative and need to be put out in the world more aggressively. M. J. Day, the editor of the swimsuit issue, and Aden, both believe that “the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective.”

“We both know that women are so often perceived to be one way or one thing based on how they look or what they wear,” she said. “Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, you are worthy.”

She also shared her experience when she first came to the United States, the culture shock she felt on her arrival. She first landed in St. Louis which to her didn’t seem much different than the refugee camp she was born in, however, later they moved to Minnesota and that’s where her life picked up pace.

For those of you who don’t know, Halima Aden caught attention back in 2016 when she fiercely graced the ramps wearing a burkini during a swimsuit competition of the Miss Minnesota USA pageant.

“It is not my culture to do pageantry, it is very much an American culture,” she said in the video. “But that has always been my message: Don’t be afraid to be the first.

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