By Naadiya Adams
In a promising modelling career that has spanned four years, Halima Aden has decided the runway is not for her – forsaking all claim to the high-profile industry.
A lifestyle girls the world over dream of, a job millions would kill for, Aden has given up.
So why would a super model, at the height of her career give up a dream job?
If you ask me, its because she’s smart and she has learnt that what matters most is her own opinion – and by now she’s probably made enough money too.
Born a Somalian refugee during the civil war, Aden moved to Minnesota in the US at the tender age of seven.
True to her beliefs, she began wearing her hijab at school – only to become the target of bullying for her cultural differences.
While times were tough, Aden managed to overcome them through academically excelling and being named “Homecoming Queen”.
By the time she reached college she was well groomed, enough to make the semi-finals of the Miss Minnesota Pageant – which was offering a scholarship at the time.
This marked a milestone in her life as she was nabbed by international model management agency IMG Models who signed the young hijabi model. Aden became the first hijabi woman to have appeared on the covers of numerous high-profile magazines such as Allure, Vogue and Sports Illustrated. She walked the runways for some of the industry’s most esteemed labels. She was also a volunteer ambassador for UNICEF, in one of the camps where she was born.
Aden has since, had a change of heart and decided to relinquish the career in which she has so thrived. She believes the industry drew her away from her spirituality. She was just 19 when she first signed, and now at the age of 23 she is bowing out from the cat walk.
Citing her decision to choose “Deen” meaning religion over “Dunya” referring to worldly material things, Aden announced to her fans in a very warm text, “I felt betrayed by myself” because she did things she did not believe in, for instance, dressing in a way to show her earrings or skipping prayers. She also admitted to feeling pressurized during photo shoots.
She went on to say: “From now on, anyone who wants to work with me should know that I will not wear heavy makeup, I will wear wide hijab, and I will not wear clothes that I do not feel comfortable with in terms of privacy.”
It’s an extraordinary thing, what Aden has gone on to do. Her rejection of fame and money speaks volumes. And I suppose it speaks true to the saying the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
By rejecting a superficial life, the top model has set herself free of the shackles that bound her to this world as she realizes her Deen and her spiritually is what mattered most to her.
What is key in Aden’s sacrificial pledge to Islam is her realization that no one’s approval mattered more than her own and the one she calls Allah.
What plagues so many young women today are the affirmations we need from others. The approval we so desperately seek. Perhaps from our Insta followers or our Facebook friends. Family members, fellow students, or colleagues at work. The consistent want to be “liked” by others is a generational flaw that must be eroded.
Self-Worth cannot be determined through the eyes of someone else, your self-worthiness is yours, you choose what lens to see yourself through, that lens sets the tone of your daily life. It determines your confidence, your self-esteem and your ability to believe in yourself.
Halima Aden, we are incredibly proud of you!