June 18 (UPI) -- Ashley Graham interviewed fellow Sports Illustrated model Halima Aden at the 2019 Forbes Women's Summit.
The 31-year-old model spoke to Aden at the event Tuesday in New York after Aden became the first woman to wear a hijab and burkini in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue.
Aden, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp to Somali parents, told Graham her appearance in Sports Illustrated came as a surprise to her family. She said her mom still struggles with accepting her career as a model.
"The truth is, she will never understand," Aden said, according to Forbes. "She didn't walk 12 days from Somalia to Kenya for me to just walk a runway."
"I tell her that it's a platform for me to use to share my story," she added.
Aden said she takes pride in setting an example for young girls by showing it's possible to dress modestly and still have a career in the fashion industry.
"Being first means nothing if there isn't a second, third or fourth," she said.
In 2016, Graham became one of the first plus-size models to appear in the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue. Graham is an active advocate for body positivity, and said in the July issue of Allure she's found power in her own voice.
"My body has always been treated as a thing and not mine," she told the magazine. "You're the sexy girl. You're the naked girl. Men are going to idolize your hourglass figure. It was always about what others thought about my body, until I gained a voice. Now I get to tell people what I think of my body."