Halima Aden Is The First Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Model To Wear A Burkini And Hijab

The swimwear featured in the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit edition is usually ridiculous and highly impractical for the purpose of swimming. And so when SI decided to include Halima Aden, a Somali-American model and activist, in their annual gratuitous boob fest wearing a burkini, I thought we might actually get to see a sexy lady who could also save her own life in a shark attack by swimming away. I’m sorry to say that Halima’s SI swimwear isn’t breaking any new boundaries in aquadynamics, but she is the first woman in SI history to be photographed wearing a hijab and burkini. She proved once and for all that looking gorgeous and wearing simple, functional swimwear are incompatible.

Here’s Halima, who shouldn’t have any worries about floating in this first look.


The shoot took place in Kenya, the country in which Halima was born in a refugee camp. People reports:

“I keep thinking [back] to six-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp,” Aden, 21, told SI during her shoot. “So 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.”

Halima did wear one burkini that was both fly and functional. She’s wearing it here while explaining the importance of representation.


SI says that most of what Halima wore in the shoot was custom, since most of the miniature fabric triangle tops and chain mail bottoms they keep in their swim closet isn’t exactly modest.

There aren’t a ton of burkini designers, so we sourced from a retailer called Modanisa who specializes in modest clothing and swimwear, but we are hoping to inspire some people to start creating! We had quite a few custom burkinis designed for Halima. We wanted to highlight a range of options, everything from super sporty to glam and everything in between.

But we also had fun with some simple catsuits and paired them up with some really chic pieces from Gucci, YSL and Camilla. We had a lot of fun with the range that can exist in this space!


That means you too can take your simple, functional swimwear and load it up by putting a 3-ton Gucci anchor around your neck. As SI has been teaching us since 1964 when they published their first swimsuit issue, swimming is for suckers and ugly people!

Pic: Sports Illustrated

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