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I was mentally not happy: Hijab-wearing supermodel Halima Aden on why she quit

Halima was particular about her hijab--she even made it part of a clause in her agreement that she would never remove it. But with time, she began to lose control over her clothes.

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
January 15, 2021 10:50:31 am
halima adenFirst hijab-wearing model Halima Aden quit the fashion industry in November last year. (Source: gadisprimadona/Instagram)

The first hijab-wearing supermodel Halima Aden announced in November 2020 that she was quitting the fashion industry. The 23-year-old, who was also the first hijabi model to feature on the cover of Vogue, has now opened up on how the fashion industry was clashing with her faith.

From the beginning of her modelling career, Halima was particular about her hijab — she even made it part of a clause in her agreement that she would never remove it. But with time, she began to lose control over her clothes. “I eventually drifted away and got into the confusing grey area of letting the team on-set style my hijab,” the model opened up in a recent BBC interview. In fact, towards the end, her hijab got “smaller and smaller, sometimes accentuating her neck and chest”, according to the news website. And sometimes, she would just wrap jeans or other fabrics around her head.

In her agreement, Halima had also mentioned “blocked-out box” to ensure she had privacy while getting dressed. Other hijab-wearing models, who followed her into the industry, however, were not treated the same way, she felt.

“A lot of them are so young, it can be a creepy industry. Even the parties that we attended, I would always find myself in big sister mode having to grab one of the hijab-wearing models because she’d be surrounded by a group of men following and flocking [round] her. I was like, ‘This doesn’t look right, she’s a child.’ I would pull her out and ask her who she was with,” she was quoted as saying.

On the other hand, the former model also found herself unable to spend enough time with family. “In the first year of my career I was able to make it home for Eid and Ramadan but in the last three years, I was travelling. I was sometimes on six to seven flights a week. It just didn’t pause,” she added.

Halima also talked about how she could barely recognise herself on magazine covers, calling it “mentally damaging”. “I had zero excitement because I couldn’t see myself. Do you know how mentally damaging that can be to somebody? When I’m supposed to feel happy and grateful and I’m supposed to relate, because that’s me, that’s my own picture, but I was so far removed. My career was seemingly on top, but I was mentally not happy,” she expressed.

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