Maria Mahmood says she is considering skipping the swimwear round.

She will make history when she steps on to the stage in July to compete in the semi-finals of this year’s Miss England.

Maria Mahmood is set to become the pageant’s first hijabi contestant after being crowned first runner-up in the Miss Birmingham heat last month.

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If she wins at the semi-finals, held in Nottingham, the 20-year-old will compete in the Miss England finals, the winner of which will represent her nation at Miss World.


Mahmood, who hopes to become a social worker, said she aims to “represent diversity and multiculturalism”, though admits she had reservations before taking part.

“I told the organiser, ‘I have wardrobe restrictions and I am not a size 8’,” she told the Daily Mail. “I am new to the pageant world so I didn’t know. But she said: ‘You don’t need to worry, there is not a bikini round any more’.

“You need to wear good clothes and you need to look polished but you don’t need to look like a supermodel.”

This is the first pageant for Mahmood, who admitted she was nervous ahead of her appearance but received positive feedback from the judges.

“Afterwards I had the judges coming up to me telling me how much they loved what I was representing. That really, really felt good,” she told the British newspaper.

“An Indian girl came up to me afterwards and said: ‘As an Asian woman I would never, never consider doing this but now seeing you I definitely will pursue it.’

“You shouldn’t let your skin colour and your race hold your back.”


A post shared by Maria Mahmood (@maria.mhmd) on

Mahmood, who went up against 30 women in the Miss Birmingham heat, has a few months before the semi-finals to decide if she wants to take part in the swimsuit segment.

“I am pretty sure it is an optional round, if I felt like doing it, I would do it,” she told the Daily Mail. “But I would obviously wear something suitable to me.

“There is what you call a burkini but I don’t know how I feel about that. I make my own clothes so I would probably make something that was appropriate but still swimwear. We’ll see.”

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Mahmood isn’t the first Muslim beauty queen to make headlines in recent years, with Halima Aden rising to fame after competing in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant in a burkini back in 2016.

The Somali-American model has since graced numerous magazine covers and international fashion week catwalks, and is signed to a top agency.

Here’s wising Mahmood similar success.

Images: Maria Mahmood/Instagram