Halima Aden joins our list of inspiring women leaders. She is the first hijab-wearing model to walk international runway shows.
“Being your authentic self can break stereotypes.”Halima Aden
Her story is powerful and inspiring. Her family fled the war in Somalia and Halima was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, finally moving to the USA as a child.
It was not an easy start in life for Halima. However she has shown remarkable tenacity and courage to keep true to the compass of who she is throughout. Living in a very mono-cultural part of the country, she was constantly challenged to deviate from her upbringing and go with the expectations of those around her. But she remained resolute until, as Halima recounts, the time when she was crowned homecoming queen at her High School with surprise, ” You guys accepted me and I didn’t need to change myself.”
She is an outstanding female leader. Yet the path to living her dream of working as a model whilst reflecting her muslim culture meant she unexpectedly faced a backlash from both the communities she lived in – her American and Muslim colleagues ironically felt she was conforming to the other culture. Halima insisted “I don’t want to conform, I just want to be me.”
Being who you are as a woman is not easy. However, her message is clear: you need to take ownership of your journey and claim your own identity.
“Don’t wait to be invited to the table. Pick up your own seat.”Halima Aden
She is adamant that she has a fantastic opportunity to show others that she can be herself, as well as be a model, not just on the catwalk, but to inspire other women leaders wanting to live a full and meaningful life.