Though she's just 23-years old, supermodel and activist Halima Aden championed impressive change in the fashion industry. She's walked in iconic fashion shows for brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Max Mara, and Alberta Ferretti, and made history becoming the first hijab-wearing model on the cover of American Vogue in June 2017. Now, the Somali-American and Minnesota resident is juggling her modeling work with her role as UNICEF ambassador, all while trying to prioritize self-care amidst a global pandemic.
As a dog mom and new homeowner, Aden often shares her everyday life in addition to her fashion work on Instagram. And as a star of jewelry brand Pandora's holiday campaign video — alongside a cool cast of stars that includes Millie Bobby Brown, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Georgia May Jagger — she is sharing her love for customizable, sentimental jewelry like the brand's collectable charm pieces that she layers for everyday wear. "I love the snowflake charm," she tells TZR. "In Minnesota right now it’s starting to snow, so it definitely does remind me of home."
As part of TZR's ongoing series Living Well With, Aden talks about finally kickstarting a fitness routine, her (exciting!) recent splurge, and why Covid-19 changed her travel priorities.
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What’s the first thing you do when you wake up?
I'm a new dog mom. I just got a toy poodle named Cocoa. So, the first thing I do is tend to whatever needs Cocoa has, and she's a very demanding five-pound dog. She's the sweetest. We blast music, and thank goodness she has just as much energy as I do. Maybe a lot more in the morning, because I'll be honest, I'm not really a morning person. But, she's slowly turning me into a morning person. So yeah, we blast music and do our skin care.
When you have the chance to treat yourself, what do you do?
I definitely love going to get a pedicure or a manicure. Just getting my nails done. Simple pleasures like that.
What are you listening to these days?
What do I not listen to nowadays? Um, everything. It just depends on whatever mood I'm in. But I really love Chloe x Halle, their music is just so amazing. They are so classy, and also so boss and sassy. It's really fun to listen to their music because you're like, wow, I can go out and be a boss. But I also really love TLC and Destiny's Child. My music is all over the place.
One thing you can’t live without is...
Well, I'm literally looking at my puppy right now and she's curled up on my lap and I definitely cannot imagine life without her. And if anything, I'm like, how did I not get you sooner?
Where are you dreaming of traveling to? Why?
OK, so if you asked me this question pre-coronavirus, I probably would have said Mykonos or whatever fun island picture I saw on Instagram. Now that travel has been taken away from a lot of us and so many restrictions have been put into place because of safety concerns, I think it has brought back to me like ... wow, I've never been to my homeland country — the country that birthed my mother — Somalia. Granted, I was born in Kenya, but that was only due to the Civil War breaking out in Somalia, and my mom having to flee the country.
It just broke my heart that I've never been able to travel to Somalia. Even a couple years ago, with safety concerns, it wasn't safe to travel there, so there were travel restrictions as well. And now it's slowly gotten more stable with the government and safer to travel there, so I pray that we can go to a time post-COVID where I'm able to have that opportunity to at least say I've traveled to Somalia. That is something I want to do in my lifetime, and I 100% credit COVID-19 because it brought back so many important things to realization.
What’s your go-to secret weapon when you want to look and feel good?
I think you can never go wrong with a nice Fenty lipgloss. I would also say hoop earrings and a turban for me, I just feel like I put extra thought into my look.
Do you have a favorite workout/wellness practice?
The gym is so new to me. I can't even lie, I'm still learning.
Before, besides being absolutely lazy, I was like as long as I can fit into my jeans, OK, no gym needed. I was not strong, I had no muscle mass. I would go to the gym and because all the machines looked very intimidating and scary, I would always just stick to the treadmill and cardio, and I hated that.
I don't want to speak too soon, but it's been three weeks of being the most consistent ever in my life. I try to do two days lower body and two days upper body. And then I also try to have a fun day.
What’s the best piece of relationship advice you’ve ever received?
In high school I had a teacher that always said you have to be present in all the spaces you enter in. Even my mom growing up always had a "no cell phones" rule, like if my girlfriends came over and she saw us all chilling around the house on our phones, she would take it. She always thought that was so weird when we weren't talking.
I think now, in my professional life, whether we are on set or whatever, I never have my phone out with me. I try my best to stay engaged and to stay present, whether it's with the nail tech or my makeup artist. Just staying engaged, I think that's the best relationship advice I've ever been given, and to be present in all the spaces and with the people you're with.
What’s a healthy meal you always make/order?
My DoorDash and Uber Eats would tell you a completely different story, but for me it's honestly shakes. I started using Gainful, and I just love the fact that it's easy and healthy.
Do you remember your first big splurge? Do you still own it?
Absolutely. My first big splurge was a pair of Alexander Wang black boots, and I will never forget that day because I remember handing over that card. I still own [them], and I'll continue to own them.
What’s the small stress-saving luxury you swear by at home?
This a recent splurge that I was like 'why didn't I do this years ago?' because it's just such a night and day difference. But, I invested in a little bedside humidifier with these LED lights that change colors. It's so easy, you just put the water in, close it up, plug it in, turn it on, and select if you want the lights. It's so relaxing. And at nighttime, especially living in Minnesota where we are always using air conditioner and outside is so cold and snowy, I get so much better rest. The LED has this cooling, almost spa-like feel to it. I swear by it.
What are you saving up for at the moment?
I just bought my condo and moved in today! I'm still unpacking, but I'd definitely say paying that off. That's probably what I'm saving up for, that mortgage.
One thing you want to go back and tell your younger self?
Collect as many memories as you can. People are like charms, so wherever you go, just collect.