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NOTEBOOK – One Good Read: Central Iowa teen making waves in world of fashion


In May 2018, Ugbad Ahdi was preparing to graduate from West Des Moines’ Valley High School. A few short months later, she was in New York City working for a top modeling agency. Since then she’s walked runways in London, Milan and Paris. “Everything that has happened so far to this moment, it’s like, all a dream come true,” Ahdi told the Wall Street Journal’s Ray A. Smith. “It’s good to see that people want to see change,” continued Ahdi, a Somali-born Muslim who wears a hijab. Before transferring to Valley in 2017, Ahdi attended Des Moines’ East High School and Central Academy. “It’s an honor to have a voice and maybe educate some people who didn’t know anything about the hijab before. I feel like this is a journey for everyone.” Abdi’s family fled war-torn Somalia to a Kenyan refugee camp when she was small, writes Smith. A United Nations refugee agency relocated her family to Des Moines. In high school, people encouraged Ahdi, who is tall and thin, to consider modeling. While Ahdi is comfortable on the runway and in front of the camera, it’s only part of what makes her “an exceptional model,” Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, told Smith. “From the beginning, she has used her platform to challenge stereotypes about Muslim women and open doors for others.”

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