Halima Aden: From refugee to Somali American hijabi model | USA

Halima Aden has heard it all: “You’re not Somali enough. You’re not a good Muslim. You’re not American enough. I have multiple identities, multiple things that make me who I am.”

But, for the 21-year-old Somali American model, it all comes with being the first.

“[It’s] not an easy thing to be when the world wants you to be one thing or the other,” she explains.

It’s been two years since Halima shot to fame as the first contestant to wear a hijab and burkini at a Miss USA beauty pageant in Minnesota.

She has since been featured on fashion magazine covers and billboards across the world, challenging the definition of conventional beauty in the US and abroad.

But Halima desires more.

At New York Fashion Week, she prepares to navigate a demanding industry in the hope of becoming a high fashion model and icon.

It’s a very different world to the one she grew up in, as a refugee in Kenya, and later in St. Cloud, Minnesota. A world that Halima’s mother does not want her to forget.



In 2016, Halima Aden shot to fame as the first contestant to wear a hijab and burkini at a Miss USA beauty pageant in Minnesota [Al Jazeera]

FILMMAKERS’ VIEW

By Mike Shum and Arthur Nazaryan

Halima Aden came to public attention in 2016, as the first contestant to wear a hijab and burkini at the Miss Minnesota USA beauty pageant. But her story resonated far beyond the worlds of pageantry and modelling.

Less than a month after the election of President Donald Trump, who had portrayed Minnesota’s Somali community – to which Halima belongs – as a hotbed of extremism, Halima was showing the world that Somalis in Minnesota were part of the fabric of the state and, in many ways, defining its future.

By the time we met her in early 2017 to discuss the possibility of this film, Halima was just beginning her meteoric ascent from local beauty pageant contestant to international model.

She was keenly aware of what she represented, not only to Somali Americans, but to young Muslims who were eager to see themselves represented beyond the tired caricatures often found in the media.

But she also revealed a personal struggle: in spite of all her success, and what that meant to so many, her mother – supportive as she was – still could not accept that her daughter was a model.

Having grappled with the cultural and intergenerational gap that so often accompanies the immigrant experience ourselves, we were especially drawn to this aspect of her story.



Halima says her mother – supportive as she was – struggled to accept that her daughter was a model [Al Jazeera]

At its core, this is a film that can resonate with anyone who has struggled to balance family acceptance with their ambitions in life.

We wanted to make a film that explored these personal dimensions of Halima’s story, looking at the new challenges that her career presented, and how Halima would respond to them – that is, we wanted to show something that transcended headlines and magazine covers.

Having both worked in the Minnesota Somali community over the past two years, we were also interested in how this unprecedented young woman would change and be changed by that community. We came to learn that this film captures merely the beginning of the wide reaching impact Halima has chosen to have.

Source: Al Jazeera

Source link

more recommended stories

  • Indonesia’s Prabowo challenges election result in court | News

    Defeated Indonesian presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto.

  • India elections 2019: All the latest updates | India News

    Counting of votes is under way.

  • US charges WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange with espionage | USA News

    The US Justice Department unveiled 17.

  • What you need to know about India’s BJP | India News

    Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is.

  • Pentagon ‘mulls sending thousands more troops’ to Middle East | News

    The United States‘ Department of Defense.

  • US House Speaker Pelosi says Trump is engaged in a ‘cover up’ | USA News

    Democrats in the United States House.

  • Washington says attacks ‘deterred’ as US-Iran tensions rise | News

    The acting US defence secretary says.

  • New Ukrainian President Zelensky calls early parliamentary polls | Ukraine News

    Ukraine‘s new President Volodymyr Zelensky called.

  • Water supplies restored to besieged Libyan capital Tripoli | Libya News

    Water supplies to the 2.5 million.

  • Trump loses lawsuit challenging subpoena for financial records | Trump News

    A US judge on Monday ruled.

  • North African filmmakers pushing boundaries at Cannes 2019 | France News

    This year’s Cannes Film Festival is.

  • US says warship sails in South China Sea amid trade tensions | News

    The United States military has said.

  • Saudi Arabia ‘seeks to avert war, ready to respond with force’ | News

    Saudi Arabia wants to avert war.

  • Eurovision vs Globalvision: An artistic response | Palestine News

    Bethlehem and London – Palestinian, Israeli.

  • Presidential hopeful Joe Biden calls for unity in inaugural rally | Elections 2018 News

    Former Vice President Joe Biden has.

  • US warns airliners flying over Gulf of ‘misidentification’ | Iran News

    US diplomats warned commercial airliners flying.

  • Australian election: Voting under way in key contest | Australia News

    Melbourne, Australia – Australians are heading.

  • An Iranian building bridges in wall-obsessed America | US & Canada

    A towering artist of his generation,.

  • Taiwan parliament to vote on same-sex marriage legislation | Taiwan News

    Amid deep divisions, Taiwan‘s parliament has.

  • The Philippines’ Duterte: In pursuit of an imperial presidency | Asia

    Although President Rodrigo Duterte‘s name was.

  • Venezuela government, opposition in Norway for crucial talks | News

    Envoys from the Venezuelan government and.

  • Alibaba earnings hint at China’s ability to weather trade war | China News

    China‘s e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported.

  • Iran halts some commitments under 2015 nuclear deal | News

    Iran has officially stopped some commitments.

  • PNG assesses damage from magnitude 7.5 earthquake | Papua New Guinea News

    Authorities in Papua New Guinea have dispatched.

  • Palestinian campaigners call for mass boycott of Airbnb on May 15 | News

    A Palestinian campaign has called on.

  • Spyware discovered targeting phones through WhatsApp calls | News

    Spyware crafted by an “advanced cyber.

  • Senior Palestinian official says she was refused US visa | USA News

    A senior Palestinian official has said she.

  • Sweden to reopen rape probe against WikiLeaks founder Assange | News

    Julian Assange is to be investigated.

  • Small lead for Australian opposition as election nears: poll | Australia News

    Australia‘s opposition Labor Party retains a.

  • Gunmen attack hotel in Pakistan’s Gwadar, kill five people | News

    Islamabad, Pakistan – Gunmen have stormed a.

  • India election 2019: Sixth round of voting under way for 59 seats | India elections 2019 News

    Voters in Delhi and elsewhere in.

  • Houthi rebels begin withdrawal from key ports in Yemen | Yemen News

    Yemen’s Houthi rebels have begun a.