2020 has allowed us to see into the lives of celebrities like never before. Believe it or not, there was once a time when fans wondered what their faves were up to, obsessed over their mystery and clung to every paparazzi photo they could get their hands on. Now, social media has blessed us with an inside look at what our favorite celebs are doing, and stay-at-home orders during the pandemic have only increased the openness of these channels. Celebs like Halima Aden are opening up now more than ever before. We know what they had for breakfast, their favorite face mask brands (virus-preventative and skincare-related), how they voted and what their values are.
You might think knowing so much about a celebrity might lessen their allure, but when a genuinely good person keeps it real, they only become more appealing. Aden certainly makes the cut, and she’s gone above and beyond to use her platform to inspire her fans to speak out. Given that she was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant, Aden knows a thing or two about breaking barriers and creating change, so she’s the perfect role model to turn to as we look to 2021 for a better year.
I was delighted to see Aden (briefly in 3D, then as a cutesy cartoon version) appear in Pandora’s new holiday animated short, which starred other celebs alongside the model including Millie Bobby Brown and Georgia May Jagger, to name a few. Yes, the film shows off some seriously cute jewelry, but the overall theme is togetherness, so it’s no surprise Halima was all for it.
Aden is the kind of celeb we can all learn a thing or two (or three) from, and she sat down to talk to StyleCaster about everything from activism to fashion to DIYing her own skincare—oh, and of course, some useful advice from her mother.
“I have found myself thinking of something that my mom said growing up a lot this year, ‘Tough times don’t last, but strong people do,'” Aden shares. “I think that is a message we should all be taking into 2020.”
With just a few months left of 2020 and an untarnished 2021 ahead that’s ripe for the taking, we’re looking to Aden to teach us all she’s learned, so we can carry her words with us as we work to break barriers of our own.
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On Breaking Barriers
“My advice for women in the new year is something I’ve said many times, ‘Don’t change yourself, change the game!’ Be your best authentic self. If you are not invited to the table, pull up your own seat. Don’t be afraid of the unknown and be willing to step outside your comfort zone. The world will meet you where you stand. Be gracious and be kind as those are two things that never go out of style.”
On The Highs (& Lows) Of 2020
“The most difficult moment, like so many Americans, was that uncertainty of what work and finances would look like in 2020. I feel like my team and I have navigated the storm together in quickly shifting to digital opportunities. I’ve been doing a lot of virtual speaking engagements, self-shot campaigns, and social media work. I know for many that not knowing when your next paycheck will come can be scary, especially for those caring for entire families.
A highlight for me, when re-evaluating my financial decisions and choices this year, was purchasing my first home. I’m now paying down a mortgage instead of paying rent and feel that was a wise investment for me.”
On Future Goals
“My goal list for 2021 is pretty extensive. I’ve taken up swim lessons, virtual acting lessons, and horseback riding during the pandemic. There is so much I want to accomplish in fashion and beyond. Of course, my work with UNICEF is at the top of my agenda. I am hopeful when it’s safe to do so again, that I can get back into the field and assist on the ground with the work UNICEF is doing for the world’s most vulnerable children.”
On Using Her Platform Wisely
“I do want to use my voice on social media to create change. I also want to be selective in what I’m posting so that my message is as impactful as it can be. I want to have the most powerful voice I can so in doing so, I try to be very intentional when it comes to posting on social impact initiatives and various causes. I have always wanted to combine fashion and activism and I feel my social media does just that.”
On Togetherness In Divisive Times
“Togetherness for me means that I am reaching out to friends and family, by phone or Facetime, and that I am in tune with how they are navigating this new normal of life physically apart from people. Togetherness also means holding it together and not using this time apart and at home as a vacation…you not only want to keep your relationships strong, but keep working hard as when we get back to a world similar to what we once knew, the competition will be greater.”
On Her Fashion Go-Tos
“When it comes to jewelry, Pandora is my go-to for accessorizing. I love their snowflake pieces, including the Sparkling Snowflake Stud Earrings and Sparkling Snowflake Double Ring! My go-to look [beyond jewelry] that makes me feel most confident is glam makeup, but in order to really feel my best, I know I need to have taken care of my skin before the makeup goes on.”
On DIYing Her Own Skincare
“During this time at home, I have done a lot of homemade masks, exfoliants, and creams. My African mama really believes in using natural ingredients in your skincare routine so honey, turmeric, aloe vera…Then, once my skincare game is strong and my make-up is in place, it’s the headscarf that completes my look. I figure out if I want a more traditional hijab style or to tie a fun turban.”
On Her Favorite Face Masks
“I was actually fortunate to team up with Anywear Design and Allure to create a collection of face coverings for hijab-wearing women. That was a big passion project of mine at the beginning of the pandemic. I worked in a hospital, cleaning patient rooms, even seven months into my modeling career. I think in fashion and other industries, we sometimes think one size fits all. And, truth be told, it doesn’t.
For face coverings to go behind the ear for those who wear the hijab, can be difficult, especially when they are working in a hospital, where every moment counts. The sets I designed clasped in back over the hijab, and not behind the ears. I’m really proud of that project and of course, they are my favorite to wear!”