Muslim Teen Wears Hijab, Burkini While Competing In Miss Minnesota USA
Beauty pageants are generally known for praising a conventional model of beauty, but a contestant in this weekend’s Miss Minnesota USA is taking her own path by wearing traditional Muslim clothing.
Halima Aden, a Somali-American teen, wore a hijab and a burkini while participating in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Aden, 19, is the first fully-covered Muslim contestant in the competition.
“This pageant is so much more than just beauty. Their whole message is being confidently beautiful, so I didn’t think that I should allow my hijab to get into the way of me participating,” Aden said in an interview with MPR News. “This is a great platform to show the world who I am … just because I’ve never seen a woman wearing a burkini (in a pageant) it doesn’t mean that I don’t have to be the first.”
Halima Aden starts off Miss Minnesota USA's swimsuit segment to big cheers from the crowd. Announcer: "She's making history tonight." pic.twitter.com/OUvbHv6xct— Liz Sawyer (@ByLizSawyer) November 27, 2016
Aden was born in a refugee camp in Kenya, and moved to Minnesota as a child. Islamophobia has been a prominent theme with the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and the spike in hate crimes after his election, but Aden said she wasn’t focused on those things when she entered the pageant.
“What I wanted to do was to just give people a different perspective,” Aden said. “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 a Somali-American, when you are a Muslim woman, I think that would open up people’s eyes.”
Muslim women cover their bodies to adhere to the Koran’s teachings for practitioners to dress modestly.
If Aden wins Miss Minnesota, she would represent the state in the Miss USA competition, and then in Miss Universe.
Read Aden’s interview with Star Tribune for more information about her participation in the pageant.