Now a freshman at St. Cloud State University, Aden is a proud and vocal trailblazer for Muslim women in the fashion industry.
The teen wore her hijab and a burkini in the Miss Minnesota contest, and while she didn't take the crown, she certainly didn't come away empty-handed.
"I was scared to participate in the pageant, because it's not something Muslim girls do".
Music producer Malik Yusef said he has visited with the rapper recently and that West was focused on his recovery and spending time with his two young children with wife, reality star Kim Kardashian. "I never fit that stereotype of lovely, but when I noticed other people weren't challenging that or representing me, I thought, it doesn't hurt to be the first". The Somali-American model hoped to inspire other Muslim girls, especially those from her native homeland.
Aden's joining the ranks of mega models Bella and Gigi Hadid, Chrissy Teigen and Gisele in IMG Models' Women division.
"Halima's participation shows how inclusive fashion is becoming", said Ivan Bart, president of IMG models.
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All hail the gorgeous Halima Aden. After her Miss USA stint, she told CBS, "For a really long time I thought being different was a negative thing". Her feature in the Yeezy5 show spelled a win for diversity and Kanye's controversial character.
While there were memorable moments, the fashion clearly stole the show.
She was later seen kissing Kanye backstage after the show had ended. "She and her team are simply the best. They make me feel comfortable and have become like family".
"I'm going in as me, my authentic self".
It was a statement that not only turned heads, but got the industry buzzing about the stunning newbie who stole the show on the catwalk.
Unlike last season's massive, disastrous event, Kanye West kept his Yeezy season 5 fashion show top secret and ultra-exclusive. Aden emigrated with her parents as a child to Minnesota.