AceShowbiz - Halima Aden has found ardent supporters in her fellow models. Shortly after the so-called world's first hijab-wearing supermodel announced her decision to quit the runway over pressure to compromise her religious beliefs, Gigi Hadid and Naomi Campbell declared publicly that they have her back.
New mom Gigi voiced her support via Instagram Story. In a lengthy reflection post, the 25-year-old wrote, "Everyone should go check out @Halima's story right now. It is so important, as a hijabi or not, to self reflect and get back on track with what feels genuine to us - It's the only way to feel truly fulfilled."
"I learnt through therapy once that if we are assertive with our boundaries, it does not mean that we are ungrateful for opportunity, and it will lead to an end result that does not feel hollow, one where we do not feel taken advantage of," the girlfriend of Zayn Malik mulled over her own struggles. "Learning that helped me so much."
The Victoria's Secret model then showered Halima with praises. "My sis Halima, you have inspired me since the day I met you and you continue to make me proud," she applauded the 23-year-old model, before encouraging her to "keep shining." She wrapped up her supportive message by signing off with "big love."
Naomi, on the other hand, turned to the comment section of Halima's recent Instagram post to share her moral support. "Proud of you for staying true to your integrity," the 50-year-old expressed her appreciation at the younger model's decision. "You are true light and joy since knowing you. And I hope our paths will cross in another capacity, keep rising and shining."
Halima herself made public her decision to take a step back from the fashion industry on Wednesday, November 25. The model, who made history by donning hijab and burkini in Sports Illustrated's 2019 Swimsuit Issue, explained through a series of Instagram Story posts how she regretted the styling of her hijab that betrayed her values in many shoots.
Among the campaigns she took issues with was American Eagle's first-ever denim hijab. "I was just so desperate back then for any 'representation' that I lost touch with who I was," she pointed out in one post, and asked in another, "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?"
Claiming that the coronavirus pandemic gave her time to look back at her career choices, the Somali-American noted, "As I've said many times being a minority inside of a minority inside of a minority is never easy. Being a 'Hijabi' is truly a journey with lots of highs & lows." She added, "Thanks to Covid & the break away from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey."
In several posts, Halima honored her mother Rukia Ahmed Aden for constantly trying to open her eyes. "My mom asked me to quit modeling a LONG time ago," she confessed in one. "I wish I wasn't so defensive. Sis was literally the only person who had the purest intentions for me. The advice she gave me was 'DEEN over Dunya.' And her stance has never once changed."
Halima moved to the U.S. at the age of 7 after being raised in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp. Her family settled in St. Cloud, Minnesota. She made her mark in 2016 when she became the first contestant to wear a hijab and a burkini at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant where she reached the semi-finals.