Model Halima Aden – a pioneer as one of the first Muslim models to don a hijab on the fashion ramp – has now announced her exit from runway shows. Citing having to compromise her religious beliefs as the pivotal reason for the decision, Aden informed her Instagram followers that the coronavirus epidemic allowed her to reflect upon her values and made her realise that she had lost touch with who she is, from missing her prayer times to being made to drape a pair of jeans instead of a headscarf, which made her feel rather uncomfortable. “I can only blame myself for caring more about opportunity than what was actually at stake,” Halima wrote on her Instagram stories.
“Thanks to Covid and the break away from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey. Looking back now I did what I said I would never do. My hijab journey was the STRONGEST when I was surrounded by my sisters. That’s a theme I’m discovering about myself now. My hijab was on point when I was surrounded by my Somali culture,” she added. Halima then shared a post of herself in a campaign for Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, writing, “(Rihanna) let me wear the hijab I brought to set. This is the girl I’m returning to, the real Halima.”
In another post, she weighed in on the feeling that comes from being “a minority within a minority”, penning, “What I do blame the industry for is the lack of Muslim women stylists.” She said the void of Muslim women stylists had resulted in lack of understanding of the hijab within the fashion industry. “Being a ‘hijabi’ is truly a journey with lots of highs and lows,” Halima continued.
After a jeans shoot with American Eagle Outfitters, Halima said she wept uncontrollably in her hotel room. While the campaign encouraged consumers to “find your style”, she felt like she had lost her own. “But… this isn’t even my style?? Never was. Why did I allow them to put jeans on my head when at the time I had only ever worn skirts and long dresses?” she questioned, adding, “I went back to my hotel room & just sobbed after this shoot because deep down I knew this wasn’t it. But was too scared to speak up. The truth is I was very UNCOMFORTABLE. This just ain’t me.” Aden said people would slowly start compromising their most basic principles in order to fit in.
“I remember wanting to be the ‘hot hijabi’ as if that didn’t just defeat the whole purpose,” she wrote. “A hot mess is what it was truthfully.” Loving #halimaaden for standing up for what she believes in 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾🙌🏽
— Bhushan Kumar (@bogeyno2) November 26, 2020
Halima Aden’s story is so inspiring to many Muslim women around the world & her message is very clear: stand up for what you believe and don’t let others dictate your future or question your beliefs/who you are 👏🏼 #HalimaAden
— Ranya (@RanyaPWP) November 26, 2020
halima aden’s hijab story is inspiring me so much rn.
— carti go hard (@Andallah_Zahir) November 26, 2020
Halima Aden really opened my eyes. I’ve really been lacking. May Allah reward her fr.
— zai 🌻 (@zaisiru) November 26, 2020
It is rare to find people who have the integrity to be true to their core beliefs when faced with pressure.
Nothing but respect for my beautiful sister Halima Aden.
There needs to be more respect for diversity in the fashion & beauty industries.
— Umm Ismael Muslimah (@Ummismaelsf) November 26, 2020
Reading Halima Aden’s igstories and journey and 💯 respect and admiration
— nhmf (@nhmaif) November 26, 2020
I have so much respect for halima aden 🥺
— PROD V 🍞🍓 (@kthgidIe) November 26, 2020
Halima Aden, you’re the flash news that everyone looks up at 🌍☺️
— AJW (王 美 琪) (@thelisa_w) November 26, 2020
How is Halima Aden not trending on muslim Twitter? I'm so proud of her. She didnt let an entire industry compromise her faith and quit!
— Bineapple (@saidabonana) November 26, 2020
"if my hijab can't be this visible, I'm not showing up periodt." – halima aden pic.twitter.com/LXGMPLmJAi
— yasm!n εїз (@hijabibratzz) November 26, 2020
I love Halima Aden when she was in modelling and now when she decides to quit.
At the end what matters most is how we have courage to make decision for ourselves.https://t.co/vP0Bhgxtb4
— Okky Madasari (@okkymadasari) November 26, 2020
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Halima’s announcement met with a whole lot of applauds on Twitter. “‘I remember wanting to be the ‘hot hijabi’ as if that didn’t just defeat the whole purpose. A hot mess is what it was truthfully’, she wrote. Loving #halimaaden for standing up for what she believes in,” remarked a user. Another added, “Halima Aden’s story is so inspiring to many Muslim women around the world & her message is very clear: stand up for what you believe and don’t let others dictate your future or question your beliefs/who you are.” Social media users hailed Halima for being the perfect role model. “Halima Aden really opened my eyes. I’ve really been lacking. May Allah reward her for it,” read a post. “Reading Halima Aden’s Instagram stories and journey and respect and admiration.” Singing praises for Halima, one post noted, “Halima Aden, you’re the flash news that everyone looks up at.” A similar tweet mentioned, “How is Halima Aden not trending on Muslim Twitter? I’m so proud of her. She didn’t let an entire industry compromise her faith and quit!”