From a refugee camp in Kenya to fashion’s most coveted runways, the 19-year-old Somali-American model’s story has captivated the world. She shares her incredible rise to the top and her fave modest fashion go-tos, exclusively with Cosmo's Farah Andrews...
Your story is amazing! Looking back, when did you decide that you wanted to get into modelling?
The opportunity to model came after I competed in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and really it fell into my lap unexpectedly. Following the state pageant, a few of the industry’s biggest names reached out to the pageant organisers with opportunities for me to participate in fashion shoots and advertising campaigns. I knew I wanted to model after I met with IMG Models during my first ever trip to New York City in December of last year; it was the right team and environment for me.
How would you describe your style?
You’re all about American Eagle Outfitters at the moment. What do you love most about it?
AEO values customers of all backgrounds and walks of life. It’s a company that inspires young girls to dream big and create their own unique paths.
What are your three must-have pieces for 2017?
I would definitely say the AEO chambray shirt dress – I wear mine often over a long maxi skirt. I also love wearing the denim high-rise leggings under a long skirt or dress. And, of course, the denim hijab!
You have been to Dubai in the past – what do you love most about the UAE?
I love the beautiful architecture! The city is absolutely breathtaking and magnificent.
What caught my eye was all the beautiful black abayas I saw. I remember thinking that I needed to buy them while I was there. Also a lot of women had various luxury items such as designer bags and scarfs. Their style is modern and sophisticated.
What message would you like to give your Middle Eastern audience?
I want them to know that they matter in the fashion industry. That they are just as much a part of it as any other group. That they have the right to dress however they choose and still look just as glamorous.
What would you say to inspire young girls from the Middle East who also dream about going into the world of fashion?
They can do anything that they put their mind to! The world is progressing and the fashion industry is becoming more inclusive by the day. Finding your path has never been easier. With enough dedication they will be walking in the biggest shows or be featured in top magazines.