Minnesota fashion model Halima Aden has done it again.
The 19-year-old who has challenged attitudes about the wearing of hijabs has broken yet another barrier — this time appearing in a new Nike ad campaign celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Air Max sneaker.
She joins an elite group of Nike spokespeople that includes tennis champion Serena Williams and supermodel Bella Hadid.
Aden was photographed in her hometown of St. Cloud earlier this month at a batting cage and go-kart racing course. The photos first surfaced last week on Aden’s Instagram account. She posted two photos of herself dressed from head to toe in Nike apparel. In both photos, she is wearing a gray skirt with a slit and black Nike leggings underneath, a white Nike sweatshirt, Air Max 97 sneakers and a black sports hijab.
Along with the new photos, Aden posted this message on Instagram: “There’s always room for improvement. My life philosophy is: If I did good yesterday, I could do better today. Even with these shoes, Nike is not thinking for the customers today, they’re keeping in mind the customers 10 years from now, 20 years from now, 60 years from now. What is that brand going to be remembered for? I’m excited to share with you these images created for @NikeSportswear’s #ad #AirMax97 Ultra. #Movement97”.
The campaign comes as Nike prepares to launch the Pro Hijab, a high-performance athletic hijab, early next year, according to Vogue magazine.
Aden first made history last fall as the first Miss Minnesota USA pageant contestant to compete wearing a head scarf and burkini. Her entry in the pageant led to her discovery by the larger fashion world. (Read our full profile on Aden here.)
She signed with IMG Models and walked the runway for Yeezy and Max Mara lines in New York and Italy. In addition, she has appeared in the pages of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Glamour magazines. Recently, she landed on the cover of Allure magazine.
The plucky Somali-American teenager, who kept her housekeeping job at St. Cloud Hospital after becoming a cover girl, has had an eventful month — she just had her braces removed last week.
Asked what message she’s sending by modeling for Nike, Aden said in a written statement: “My goal is for everyone, from all different backgrounds, to see that one of the biggest brands in the world is open to change and bettering things — really just showcasing beauty that already exists.”