In November 2020, Hijab-wearing model Halima Aden announced that she was quitting modelling.
Now, in her recent interview with BBC, where she spoke with designer Tommy Hilfiger, the 23-year old said, “The last two years, I trusted the team on set to do my hijab and that’s when I ran into problems,” she said, adding “like jeans being placed on my head in place of a regular scarf. The way they styled it, I was so far removed from my own image. My hijab kept shrinking and got smaller and smaller with each shoot.”
To this, the designer agreed, stating it was a “flaw” in the industry, and encouraged the young model to “feel proud” for sticking to her beliefs. “It is embarrassing to be part of a business that has such outrageously antiquated ideas,” he can be heard saying in the video.
The model also reinstated that people in the fashion industry are very exploitative and that diversity is often reduced to tokenism. “There needs to be diversity in the makeup crew, hair (and) stylists. It’s not just about having a diverse catwalk. It’s also about the people behind the scenes,” Aden, who is also the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Vogue, added.
The model, who broke barriers with her appearances believes speaking out has given strength to many. She hopes that aspirant models will know that “Halima has taken one for the team”.
Speaking to BBC last year, she had pinned down moving away from who she is as the reason for quitting. “I eventually drifted away and got into the confusing grey area of letting the team on-set style my hijab,” she had said then.