A landmark year in the career of Halima Aden just got a little sweeter as she was named this year's Daily Front Row 'Breakthrough Model.'
Halima was presented the honor by fellow SI Swimsuit sister Ashley Graham at the awards ceremony held at the Rainbow Room in New York City.
The Somali-American model was born in Kenya at the Kakuma Refugee Camp, where she lived until the age of seven before moving to the United States. At the age of 19, Halima made headlines when she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, where she was a semi-finalist. She went on to sign with IMG models and not only became an incredibly successful international model, but a champion for the expansion of the traditional defintion of beauty as well.
Halima continued to make history as she shot a spread in Kenya for the 2019 issue of Sports Illustrated Swimsuit. She became the first-ever, hijab-wearing model to appear on the pages of the magazine.
"To grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya–I don’t think that’s a story that anybody could make up," she said after her unforttable shoot with photographer Yu Tsai.
"[Halima and I] both believe the ideal of beauty is so vast and subjective," SI Swimsuit Editor MJ Day said about her involvement with the magazine. "We both know that women are so often perceived to be one way or one thing based on how they look or what they wear. Whether you feel your most beautiful and confident in a burkini or a bikini, YOU ARE WORTHY.”
Congratulations on a well-deserved and hard-earned award, Halima!
See all of Halima's gorgeous photos from SI Swimsuit 2019: