The Surprising Reason This Beauty Pageant Is Making Headlines

Halima Aden is one name to remember in the pageant community. The Somali-American teenager just became the first-ever contestant to wear a hijab and a burkini in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant. Competing against 45 other women, she looked absolutely incredible.

Born in a Kenyan refugee camp, Halima moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, when she was six. She said she hoped her participation in the pageant would serve as a challenge to stereotypical beauty norms. Although she didn’t advance to the final five, the 19-year-old made history by sporting her traditional Muslim garments during the semifinals and the bathing suit competition—her whole body covered except her face, hands and feet.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it,” she said in an interview with KARE-11. “So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

Given our multicultural nation, we’re surprised it’s taken this long, but we can’t be prouder of Halima’s accomplishment for women everywhere.

Samantha McDonald