Halima Aden is a name that has become synonymous with the push for greater diversity and inclusiveness in the fashion industry. As the first Muslim model to wear a hijab in a major beauty pageant, she quickly rose to fame, gracing the covers of magazines and walking the runway for some of the biggest names in fashion. However, in recent years, she made the shock decision to step away from modelling, and in this article, she shares the story of her journey from supermodel to self-discovery.
Growing up in a refugee camp in Kenya, Halima never imagined that she would one day become a model. However, her journey to success was not without its challenges, as she quickly found that the fashion industry had a tendency to “fetishize” her hijab and her Muslim identity. She soon realized that her hijab, which she wore as a symbol of her faith, was being used as a costume for the industry’s idea of diversity, rather than being treated as a natural part of her identity.
“I felt like I was being fetishized in a way because of my hijab and that’s not what I wanted to represent.”
Halima’s decision to quit modelling was not one that she took lightly. In a recent interview, she spoke about how she had become “a fetishized version of herself.” She felt that she had lost touch with who she was and that the industry was not allowing her to be authentic or true to herself. Despite her success and her growing fame, she knew that she needed to make a change.
Halima’s decision to leave the fashion industry was not just about her personal journey, but about making a statement about the importance of representation and inclusiveness. She spoke about the need for the industry to do better, to represent all cultures and identities, rather than just paying lip service to diversity.
One of the key things that Halima wanted to highlight was the issue of cultural appropriation. She spoke about how she had seen the hijab being used as a costume for fashion shoots, rather than being treated as an important part of a person’s identity. She felt that the hijab was being reduced to just a fashion accessory, rather than being seen as a symbol of religious devotion and cultural identity.
Halima also spoke about the importance of body image and representation in the fashion industry. She felt that the industry often promotes unrealistic beauty standards, which can lead to harmful body shaming and a lack of self-confidence. She wanted to use her platform to help change this and promote a more positive body image.
For Halima, quitting modelling was just the start of her journey. She has since become an activist and advocate for diversity and inclusiveness, using her platform to raise awareness and inspire change. She has been a vocal critic of the fashion industry and has called for greater representation of all cultures and identities.
“We’re all reflecting about our career paths and asking, ‘Does it bring me genuine happiness? Does it bring me joy?’”
Halima’s journey serves as a powerful reminder of the importance of authenticity and self-discovery. She shows that it is possible to find success and happiness, even in the face of adversity and cultural appropriation. Her story is an inspiration to all those who are looking for a way to be true to themselves and embrace their unique identities.
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