Teen becomes first to wear traditional attire in Miss Minnesota USA pageant

By Litaletu Zidepa
29 November 2016

“An extra layer of clothing does not define your beauty, because beauty is within.”

PHOTO: Twitter PHOTO: Twitter Somali-American model Halima Aden became the first woman to ever compete in the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant wearing a hijab and burkini. The 19-year-old model is said to be breaking down a long list of barriers in the fashion industry, and she believes that "beauty comes in many different forms".

"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. So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing," she told KARE-11. The stunning model won a competition that put her straight through to the semi-finals.

The beauty was born in Kenya and moved to America, Minnesota at the age of six, she made the decision to wear her traditional at the pageant as a way to express her comfort and to inspire fellow Muslims to embrace themselves no matter what. "Be who you are. 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,” she added. Halima said she hopes her presence at the beauty pageant will simply change America’s perception of Muslim women and fight the widespread of negative stereotypes growing in the country.

"The people that are doing bad things, they don’t represent an entire group,” Aden said in an interview with ABC7.

"I feel like I’m here to bust those misconceptions and stereotypes of Muslim women." Pageant officials for the Miss Minnesota USA Pageant are said to be supportive of Halima’s choice to wear her hijab and burkini. “The organisation continues to evolve as women evolve,” the director of Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA, Denise Wallace, said.

Selfie- central

A photo posted by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

“The Miss Universe organisation is proud to be the forefront of the diversity of beauty.” Although Halima didn’t quite make the cut to represent Minnesota at the 2017 Miss USA pageant, her only hope is to spread love and for people to love themselves while doing so.

A photo posted by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

“A lot of girls were very supportive of what I’m doing, and that just makes it all worth it,” she said,

“And my advice to them is just be confident in your own skin, know that an extra layer of clothing does not define your beauty, because beauty is within."

"I just want people to love who they are," she added.

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Sources: Cosmopolitan.com, Karre11.com, Independent.co.uk, ABC7chicago.com

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