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‘I Lost Touch With Who I Was’

Supermodel Chooses Faith over Fashion

After three years in modeling and fashion industry, American Muslim hijabi model Halima Aden has announced quitting runway, citing pressure to ‘compromise’ religious beliefs.

“My mom asked me to quit modelling a LONG time ago. I wish I wasn’t so defensive,” the 23-year-old model wrote in a detailed story on Instagram, NZ Herald reported.

“Thanks to Covid and the breakaway from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong on my hijab journey.”

📚 Read Also: Muslim Model Becomes First Hijabi on Essence Magazine Cover

Halima Aden started modeling in February 2017, months after competing at Miss Minnesota competition in her traditional dress and modest swimwear, reaching the semi-finals of the beauty pageant.

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Since then, she has walked for Max Mara, Alberta Ferretti, and Kanye West’s fashion line, Yeezy, all in her hijab.

The Somali American also made history after becoming the first black woman to grace the cover of Essence magazine in hijab for its historic 50th-anniversary issue in December 2019.

In her Instagram stories, she described the difficulties she has faced in the “toxic mess called fashion.” She recounted skipping prayers, wearing clothes she wasn’t comfortable in and styling her hijab in ways she felt betrayed her values.

“They could call me tomorrow and not even for $10 million would I ever risk compromising my hijab ever again,” she wrote. 

New Conditions

At the end, she made clear she was not quitting fashion altogether, but was rather putting conditions for those who wish to hire her.

“If my hijab can’t be this visible — I’m not showing up,” she wrote

“This is the standard moving forward if you want to work with me. Come correct or don’t come at all. Nothing less, nothing more,” she added.

For Muslim women, religious beliefs and values determine the ways they structure and approach their life.

Islam sees hijab as an obligatory code of dress, not a religious symbol displaying one’s affiliations.

Islam is a fundamental aspect of their identity and their approach to sport is often determined by religious, cultural, and ethnic factors.