“I hope that this opportunity will help break boundaries and stereotypes.”
A few years ago, beauty pageants were pretty homogenous events. Now, thanks to the hard work of a few young women, that’s changing.
First there was Halima Aden — the Somali-American model who rose to fame in 2016 when she competed for the title of Miss Minnesota in her traditional dress.
Since then, she’s landed a contract with Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty, covered magazines, and walked the runway for Alberta Ferretti and Kanye West.
Now, Malaysian-Indonesian New Zealander Nurul Shamsul is the latest hijabi beauty queen to make history.
The University of Waikato student is the first Muslim woman who wears a hijab to make it to the finals of Miss Universe New Zealand.
“As a hijabi I will be the first in New Zealand to make it to the finals and one of the first in the world to ever do so,” Shamsul wrote on Instagram when she announced her position as a finalist.
“I hope that this opportunity will help break boundaries and stereotypes. I also hope that together we can redefine the meaning of what beauty is.”
“I entered Miss Universe because I believe the journey will help me grow as a person and then I hope to help young girls flourish into beautiful women as well,” she says in a video released by the competition.
Shamsul will compete in the New Zealand finals in August — we’re crossing our fingers for her.
(And by the way, hat-tip to The National for this one.)