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Supermodel Halima Aden: ‘Why I Quit’

Despite a meteoric and unprecedented rise in the fashion industry, Halima Aden, one of the runway’s first hijab-wearing models, has decided to hang up her heels.  After considerable soul-searching, she decided that the demands of the catwalk were incompatible with her Muslim faith. In 2017 when she signed with IMG, one of the biggest modelling agencies in the world, she added a clause to her contract making IMG agree that she would never have to remove it. In the last year of her career her hijab got smaller and smaller, sometimes accentuating her neck and chest. And sometimes instead of the hijab, she wrapped jeans, or other clothes and fabrics, around her head. Another clause of Halima’s contract guaranteed her a blocked-out box, allowing her to get dressed in the privacy of her own space. But she soon realised that other hijab-wearing models, who had followed her into the industry, were not being treated with the same respect. She would see them being told to find a bathroom to change in. “That rubbed me the wrong way and I was like, ‘OMG, these girls are following in my footsteps, and I have opened the door to the lion’s mouth.'”