Somali-American model Halima Aden, the first high-fashion hijab-wearing model is the cover star for Teen Vogue‘s July 2018 issue.

In 2016, she received a lot of recognition for being the first woman to wear a hijab during the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and soon after became the first hijab-wearing model to sign with IMG Models.

For the cover story, she talks about being a child refugee, making remarkable strides in the fashion industry and becoming an official UNICEF ambassador. Read the excerpts of from the interview.

On being a Hijab-wearing model
Growing up, I never saw magazine articles painting Muslim women in a positive light. In fact, if I saw an article about someone who looked like me, it would be the complete opposite.

On becoming a UNICEF ambassador
They always reminded me as a kid that I was not forgotten. I didn’t know what life outside of a camp looked like. I couldn’t even imagine it. UNICEF was [my world]. Before I could sign my own name, when I was literally doing ‘x’ for my name, I could spell UNICEF.

On the “zero-tolerance” immigration policy put into place by the Trump administration
I was a child refugee and I can’t even imagine the trauma that would come from being ripped from my mother. It leaves them vulnerable to exploitation and abuse. Child refugees are a nonpartisan issue.

Read the full feature on

Cover Credits
Photo Assistants: Ian Hoogenboom and John Temones.
Fashion Assistant: Alexa Eschert.
Stylist Assistant: Aviya Seligman.
Manicure: Stephanie Stone
Teen Vogue creative director: Erin Hover
Teen Vogue senior visuals editor: Noelle Lacombe

Teen Vogue filmed Aden on a trip back to Kakuma, the refugee camp in Kenya where she was born to meet with young people and give the first ever TEDX Talk in the camp.

FIlmed, produced and edited by Mikey Kay.