Over the weekend, Halima Aden, a 19-year-old Somali-American became the first contestant in the Miss Minnesota beauty pageant to compete wearing a hijab and a burkini. Aden, who was born in a refugee camp in Kenya and now hails from St. Cloud, made it to the semifinals of the pageant, or the final 15, and wore a hijab throughout every phase of the contest except for the swimsuit competition, during which she wore a burkini. As she took to the stage wearing the burkini, the pageant announcer declared to the audience that Aden was “making history” at that very moment.
Prior to her groundbreaking appearance in the Miss Minnesota contest, Aden sat down for an interview with The Huffington Post in which she talked about how she hoped her entry in the pageant would serve as inspiration for young Muslim girls and Somali immigrants. “Not seeing women that look like you in media in general and especially in beauty competitions sends the message that you’re not beautiful or you have to change the way you look to be considered beautiful,” Aden told HuffPost. “And that’s not true.”
According to a message posted on Twitter by a local reporter, Aden said that pageant officials were very accommodating about her wearing the burkini (the piece of swimwear had a very controversial summer in other parts of the world, you might recall). They reportedly reminded her that the swimsuit competition is judged on poise, grace and fitness. Watch the video below for more from her interview with HuffPost.
Read the full story at The Huffington Post.