Burkinis are 'still beautiful': Muslim model Halima Aden sends message with 'Sports Illustrated' shoot

Halima Aden made history when she became the first Muslim model to appear in Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue wearing a hijab and a burkini. Now, she’s setting out to shatter perceptions surrounding the modest look and encouraging women to celebrate it.

“A girl wearing a burkini could be right alongside a woman that’s wearing a bikini and it’s still beautiful,” Aden shares with Yahoo Lifestyle on the BUILD series stage. “Whatever makes you feel the most confident should be what is celebrated.”

Halima Aden Sports Illustrated Photos
Halima Aden in Sports Illustrated. (Photo: SI)
Halima Aden in Sports Illustrated
Halima Aden in Sports Illustrated. (Photo: SI)

But Aden’s burkini hasn’t been celebrated by all. Instead, she’s faced discrimination and hurtful stereotypes as a result of utilizing this platform, which is something that fellow Sports Illustrated model, Tyra Banks, tells Aden is something that comes with being the first.

“You get the scraps, you get the bruises, you get all of that,” Banks explains. “That’s what first is. First is not easy.”

And although Aden has now become the “first,” she knows that she certainly won’t be the last, and already has hopes to one day design a burkini in collaboration with Sports Illustrated editor MJ Day.

“People don’t even know burkinis exist,” Day says. “So if you could actually open this up to designers to really get creative with, I mean look at what you get to play with.”

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