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A Model In A Hijab Talks About Her Faith And Fashion


A giant clothing retailer has broadened its notion of what a model looks like. H&M produced an ad with an unusually wide variety of people.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Look fake. Look chic. Look sheikh. Take a stand.

INSKEEP: The ad includes people you don't usually see in fashion spreads.


A boxer with a prosthetic leg, for instance, bouncing in the ring.

INSKEEP: A man in a miniskirt.

MONTAGNE: A plus-size woman at a parking meter.

INSKEEP: A long-haired, older man with his shirt off watering his lawn.

MONTAGNE: And a young woman wearing a hijab. It is the first time the Muslim headscarf has been featured in an ad for H&M. Mariah Idrissi of London was wearing it.

MARIAH IDRISSI: I want to integrate it more into society so that it's not so alien to people anymore. Hijab can be worn, and you can still have the same ambitions as everyone else.

INSKEEP: Now this online ad featuring Idrissi has gone viral, and she has taken the chance to explain why wearing the hijab is important to her.

IDRISSI: People seem to think it's men that are the reason why, but it's not that at all. If a woman wears hijab, it's a spiritual reason between her and God - and that says, I'm not married. I don't have anyone telling me to wear it. I chose to wear it myself.

INSKEEP: Idrissi is 23. She owns a beauty salon. She says she is often complemented for her hijab, but she knows that is not the case for all Muslim women.

IDRISSI: In some parts of the world, it's still so hard for a woman to wear a hijab and get a job. So it's become a bit bigger than just fashion, I think.

MONTAGNE: That's Mariah Idrissi, who appeared in a groundbreaking H&M fashion ad wearing a hijab. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Renee Montagne, one of the best-known names in public radio, is a special correspondent and host for NPR News.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.