In a first, Sports Illustrated will feature burkini-clad model

Somali-American model Halima Aden's spread will be set in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp and lived until the age of seven.
Somali-American model Halima Aden's spread will be set in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp and lived until the age of seven.PHOTO: SL_SWIMSUIT/TWITTER

WASHINGTON (AFP) - Sports Illustrated's annual swimsuit issue, best known for its racy covers of scantily clad bikini models, will feature for the first time a Muslim model wearing a hijab and burkini, the magazine said on Monday (April 29).

Somali-American model Halima Aden's rookie spread will be set in Kenya, where she was born in a refugee camp and lived until the age of seven.

"Growing up in the States, I never really felt represented because I never could flip through a magazine and see a girl who was wearing a hijab," Aden said in a video tweeted by the magazine.

Sports Illustrated also posted a picture of her posing lying down in shallow water, wearing a turquoise hijab, long yellow earrings and a deep blue burkini - the full length swimsuit favoured by some Muslim women.

Halima, 21, made headlines at age 19 when she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant, where she made the semi-finals in 2016.

She has previously featured on the cover of British Vogue and walked on the New York Fashion Week runway.