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.
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.”
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.”
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