Rawdah Mohamed: ‘I’m hoping to be a cultural force with lots of learning, growing and facing the challenges that comes with it.’ Photograph: Ole Martin Halvorsen/Vogue

The 29-year-old Somalia-born model, behavior analyst, and mother is Vogue’s Scandinavia edition’s first hijab-wearing fashion editor. Her presence in the fashion world heralds a positive transition in the business.

Mohamed grew up in a refugee camp in Kenya before migrating to Norway with her family when she was nine years old, fleeing the Somali civil war. Her move to Europe marked the start of her religious and racial persecution, which had been molded by years of stereotyped views of her religion.

Her classmates bullied Rawdah Mohamed during her school years, who targeted her headscarf with comments and insults. When the situation became untenable, Mohamed’s teachers at school concluded that the only way to save her was to quit wearing her headscarf.

Mohamed’s accomplishment of becoming a fashion editor for Vogue casts a positive light on the fashion business, implying a more varied and equal environment. She discusses the concept of ‘tokenism,’ or the idea that she was hired only based on her various exterior presence.

Photograph: Ole Martin Halvorsen/Vogue

“There’s a lot of tokenism in fashion — you’re hired because you click,” she told the press. “But one of the things that put me at ease during the interview process was the fact that they recognized how I dressed, what fashion meant to me, and what I attempted to portray via my clothes.”

She added, “It wasn’t simply like, ‘Oh good; she’s hijabi and black!'” she added. It was one of the first times I felt like I wasn’t there just to be pretty, but to express something.”

Mohamed has spoken about occasions when she felt her ability to control her own body and space was challenged on social media.

“Their solution was for me not to wear the hijab to school. When I washed my hands, everyone gathered to see if my color was coming off,’ she explained.

“Sitting in a room full of adults discussing my body and what I could and couldn’t wear as a young girl was more painful than the bullying itself,” she said.

Her early experiences have influenced her activism today and the hopes with which she enters the world of fashion.

She also describes her experiences of being bullied and rejected because of her hijab in the same post. Her activism is also evident in her daily Instagram photos, in which she elegantly mixes streetwear with her headscarf, subverting western ideals of beauty and aesthetics.

In today’s environment, the complex relationship between the body and identity is crucial. Particular bodies are inevitably denied a holistic identity due to diverse bodies of power and how certain discourses achieve enough traction to become standards. Female bodies, particularly those from minority cultures and religions, are frequently compelled to change their appearance and existence to promote the world order and all its hierarchical categorizations.

The concept of a woman like Mohamed working for Vogue, widely regarded as the world’s fashion bible, is an essential step toward a more just and equitable future.

The model expressed her gratitude for her position in an interview, saying, “Vogue Scandinavia has pushed the diversity issue to the next step, meaning creating a work environment where people of all backgrounds are valued.”

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