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Aden is Somali-American. She was born in Kenya at a refugee camp before she moved to the United States when she was 7 years old.
She returned to Kenya for her photo shoot; the photos taken on Watamu Beach.
She called the opportunity "a dream come true," CBS News reported.
"I keep thinking [back] to 6-year-old me who, in this same country, was in a refugee camp. So to grow up to live the American dream [and] to come back to Kenya and shoot for SI in the most beautiful parts of Kenya -- I don't think that's a story that anybody could make up," Aden told Sports Illustrated.
But she is used to breaking barriers. Aden was the first homecoming queen in her town, CBS News reported. She was the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant and was a semifinalist, according to Sports Illustrated. She also was on the cover of British Vogue and appeared during Fashion Week in New York City.
The swimsuit edition hits newsstands on May 8.