10th Grade, 15 Years Old
As soon as you step out on the runway, the shutters of cameras echo through the room. Bright lights shine down upon you as pop music rings in your ears. People scream out your name. Cheering for you. Chanting for you. You close your eyes and think: this, this is perfect. Well not for 23-year old Somali-American fashion model Halima Aden.
Halima Aden is most notably known for being the very first muslim hijab wearing model. A few weeks ago, she made the valiant decision to come out on social media and announce to the world her departure from the modeling industry.
"They could call me tomorrow and not even for $10 million would I ever risk compromising my hijab ever again," she exclaimed on her Instagram story. “I was just so desperate back then for any ‘representation’ that I lost touch with who I was,” added Aden.
The hijab is a headscarf worn by Muslim woman for the purpose of modesty. So really when you think about it, fashion contradicts hijab in every possible way. Although some Muslim woman were thrilled with what they saw as “representation,” it was not at all accurate. The industry was not displaying the true hijab, but rather molding it into what the public wanted to see and what was deemed to be “in style.”
Aden displayed images that indicated this idea with her hijab either concealed from view, or not worn correctly. She described these images as, “essentially erasing my hijab completely."
“I remember wanting to be the ‘hot hijabi (name for muslim woman who wears the headscarf)’ as if that didn’t just defeat the whole purpose. A hot mess is what it truthfully was,” added Aden. Seeing as she was able to candidly condemn and contemplate her past behavior proves fortitude.
Aden had constantly mentioned in interviews that her mother was never supportive of her job. She acknowledged that spending time with her mother during this current health crisis opened her eyes. “Thanks to Covid & the break away from the industry I have finally realized where I went wrong in my personal hijab journey,” she admitted.
Many did not agree with her decision stating that she was simply being foolish, throwing her life and career away, but this is not at all the case. The fact that she could publicly admit her mistakes, criticize herself, and reflect upon her actions to the world shows true courage and leadership. Not many could do the same.