United States-ALSHARQIYA November 27: Somali model Halima Aden announced that she was taking a step backward from the world of fashion, saying that the slow pace of life due to the pandemic allowed her to see situations in which her desire to maintain the hijab was not properly respected.
In a detailed Instagram story, Aden wrote this week that she was not in a hurry "to return to the fashion industry" and that she had finally responded to her mother's pleas to "open her eyes."
The 23-year-old model also said, "My mother asked me to stop working as a model a very long time ago. I wish I was less defensive. Thanks to Covid-19 and moving away from the industry, I finally realized the moment I missed during my hijab trip."
Aden became the first model to wear a hijab and walk the catwalks in Milan and New York, as well as appear on the covers of a number of magazines and in multiple print advertising campaigns.
Born in a refugee camp in Kenya, Aden moved to the United States with her family at the age of seven, the first Muslim to become the Queen of her high school graduation party in Minnesota, the first Somali student actress in her college, and the first veiled woman in the Miss Minnesota contest.
In her Instagram posts, Aden detailed the moment when she felt that her hijab was not being respected - for example in the "Fenty" beauty campaign - and how it became so extreme that in one incident, she was photographed covered in jeans only.
"I was so desperate for any (filming) that I lost my sense of what I was. I had to get off the set because the designer did not clearly consider a woman wearing a hijab," she wrote.
She added that her acceptance of positions that showed a lack of respect for her beliefs was due to a combination of rebellion and naivety. "What I blame the industry for is the lack of Muslim designers," she concluded.