Halima Aden Is Taking Over the Beauty Universe Just by Being Herself

PHOTO: Benjamin Vnuk Fashion editor: Vanessa Chow. Miu Miu dress, hat. Haute Hijab scarf. Hijab-ista underscarf. The Lavender Lip: To channel Aden’s pastel purple color here, try Urban Decay Vice Lipstick in Twitch.

Halima Aden is many things. The first hijab-wearing model to be signed to mega modeling agency, IMG. The first woman to wear a burkini in the Miss Minnesota pageant. She is breaking barriers left and right, but the day she showed up for her Glamour shoot, she was just a bubbly, smiley 19-year-old excited to talk makeup and her dreams of working for UNICEF. Here’s how the former refugee is taking over the beauty universe just by being herself.

First things first: I’m Somali, but I was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, and we came to America when I was seven. We settled in St. Cloud, Minnesota, where there’s a large Muslim population. Still, Muslims make up only about one percent of ­America, so it’s a very small group and there are plenty of stereotypes about us­—we’re not often portrayed as people doing good things. I want to change that. I want everyone to live to their full potential without having to fear someone will try to knock them down or discriminate against them.

So when I competed in the Miss Minnesota pageant last November (seeing Deshauna Barber, a woman in the U.S. military, win Miss USA earlier that year was a big push), I wanted to challenge certain people’s ideas of Muslims, especially around standards of beauty. I wish I could say I was calm backstage, but being the first hijab-wearing Miss Minnesota contestant was nerve-racking. How were Somalians going to react? I didn’t want to let anybody down. But then I thought: It’s Miss Minnesota. I am a Minnesotan. I know I qualify—I shouldn’t limit myself.

PHOTO: Benjamin Vnuk. Fashion editor: Vanessa Chow. Prada dress, hat. Delpozo hoodie. M Missoni turtleneck. Hijab-ista hijab.

The Icy-Blue Eye: Start by dipping your finger into a pot of cream eyeshadow, like Tom Ford Cream Color for Eyes in Siren Blue, then pull the pigment from the inner corner of the eye outward, staying above the crease.

My peers wore bikinis, which is fine, but I decided to wear a burkini, a full-coverage swimsuit that’s more comfortable for me. Growing up, I had used my fear of looking different as an excuse to quit choir. The real reason was actually that my Somali family and friends weren’t coming to support me (music is typically frowned upon in our religion), but I blamed it on standing out. I wasn’t going to quit again. For me, being in a pageant was about taking chances and not worrying about the outcome.

PHOTO: Benjamin Vnuk. Fashion Editor: Vanessa Chow. Louis Vuitton jacket. AWAKE turtleneck. Unique Hijabs hijab. Hijab-ista underscarf.

The White Liner: Using a white eye pencil—try L’Oréal Paris Infallible Never Fail Eyeliner in White—draw from inner to outer corner just above your crease. Lift at the end for a sixties feel; go straight for a punk vibe.

PHOTO: Benjamin Vnuk. Fashion editor: Vanessa Chow. Valentino dress. Hijab-ista hijab, underscarf. Marni earring.

The Black Glossy Lip: For high shine, line lips with a black matte pencil, then add a coat of deep eggplant lip gloss, says makeup artist Virginia Young, who created the looks here. Try Maybelline New York Color Sensational Vivid Hot Lacquer in Slay It.

And the reaction to the pageant has been 98 percent positive. While I didn’t win, I got signed by a huge modeling agency, IMG, shortly after and walked in the Yeezy show—then editor Carine Roitfeld put me on the cover of CR Fashion Book. After that: a Vogue shoot, an Allure cover, and an American Eagle campaign. Now I’m starting to feel a lot of pressure; people are looking to me to represent Muslim women, and the last thing I want to do is create a negative image. But I’m up for the challenge, and I’m finding my own path.

Halima Aden is a 19-year-old Muslim American model who has dreams of working with UNICEF. Follow her @kinglimaa.