Halima Aden, the world's first hijab-wearing supermodel, announced on Wednesday that she quit runway shows saying working in the fashion industry made her "compromise" her religious beliefs. The 23-year-old made the announcement in a series of Instagram Stories.
Aden detailed how the break from the industry due to the coronavirus pandemic made her re-evaluate her decision. She explained that she realized that she went "wrong" in her "personal hijab journey."
"I wish I never stopped bringing my black hijab to set. Because the minute I got comfortable... let's just say I got too carried away," the Somali-American model wrote, adding that she missed obligatory Islamic prayers due to her work.
Aden said that she believed that she made "mistakes" while representing the traditional head covering for Muslim women. "Fellow Muslim sisters would send me DMs and even publicly tag me at the start of my career to say 'stop dressing like an old woman'... which made me feel like I was doing something wrong ... 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."
According to Aden, "As I've said many times... being a minority inside of a minority inside of a minority is never easy", she said.
Model With Many Firsts
Halima Aden has several firsts to her credit. She became the first hijab-wearing model of top modelling agency IMG. She also became the first woman to wear the head covering and burkini during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in 2016. She was the first model to appear on the cover of Sports Illustrated and also became the first Somali-American model to grace the cover of British Vogue wearing a hijab.
In one of her posts, Aden appeared to be critical of the fashion industry for what she called "lack of Muslim women stylists." She explained that this led to little understanding of the traditional Islamic head covering in the industry. The model stated that she "lost touch" with her "real" self.
"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," Aden wrote. "I went back to my hotel room and just sobbed after this shoot because deep down I knew this wasn't it. But was too scared to speak up."