Trailblazing supermodel Halima Aden is now able to add yet another first to her illustrious resumé, as the 21-year-old, Somali-American beauty has just become to first Muslim model to appear in the famed Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue in a burkini.
Aden — who grew up in Kenya's Kakuma refugee camp before immigrating to Minnesota at the age of seven — returned to the country's Watamu Beach for the shoot with photographer Yu Tsai. In the fabulous spread, Aden can be seen in both a hijab and the full-body bathing suit, which was originally created by Muslim-Australian designer Aheda Zanetti — and (obviously) looking gorgeous as ever.
"I keep thinking [back[ to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp," Aden told Sports Illustrated. "So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya — I don't think that's a story that anybody could make up."
In a behind-the-scenes video also featured on the site, Aden goes on to talk about the importance of her big first, saying, "Growing up in the United States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab."
Aden elaborated on this sentiment via her Instagram post, writing in the caption, "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." Amen.