Modest Miss Minnesota: Beauty in a hijab reaches US semi-finals
A 19-year-old Minnesota woman made history in the state's Miss USA beauty pageant over the weekend, becoming the first contestant to compete in a hijab - and during the bathing suit competition- a burkini.
Halima Aden, a Somali-American teen who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, opted for traditional attire at Miss Minnesota USA pageant.
Halima immigrated to America with her family when she was six. During the beauty competition, she says she has found support from her fellow contestants.
She said: “A lot of girls were very supportive of what I’m doing, and that just makes it all worth it.
“My advice to them is just be confident in your own skin, know that an extra layer of clothing does not define your beauty, because beauty is within.”
Halima didn't win the competition — she made the top 15 in a contest of 45 — but she still took the showing as a victory.
“This is a big win for us,” Halima told American press.
“I'm the first to do this, and I'm hoping to see more Muslim women wearing burkinis, being celebrated.
“Be who you are. It's easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”
She told MPR: “What I wanted to do was to just give people a different perspective. We just needed one more thing to unify us. This is a small act, but I feel like having the title of Miss Minnesota USA when you are Somali-American, when you are a Muslim woman, I think that would open up people’s eyes.”