This Miss USA Contestant Competed In A Hijab For The Most Inspiring Reason

Photo: Alishba Kazmi/ AP Photo.
Some of the biggest names in beauty during 2016 have also been the biggest boundary-breakers: among them, CoverGirl’s first male spokesperson James Charles and Harnaam Kaur, a woman with PCOS inspiring others with her confidence. Today, we add another to this list: 19-year-old Halima Aden, who made history by competing in this past weekend's Miss Minnesota USA competition wearing a hijab. What’s more, Aden is using her platform to raise awareness in the process.

Aden is the first Somali-American to participate in the Miss Minnesota USA competition — an entry that seems long overdue, considering nearly 40,000 Somali-Americans live in the state. In addition to wearing a hijab during the contest, she also wore a Burkini during the swimsuit portion of the event.

Denise Wallace, the director of Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA told ABC 7 Chicago, "The organization continues to evolve as women evolve. The Miss Universe organization is proud to be the forefront of the diversity of beauty.”

Like other contestants, Aden would have been thrilled to take home the crown. (She finished among the top 15 competitors.) But she says she competes for a greater purpose.

"I feel like I'm here to bust those misconceptions and stereotypes of Muslim women," Aden told ABC 7. “The people that are doing bad things, they don't represent an entire group."

And it’s working. Aden says she can feel the love from other girls and community members. "A lot of girls were very supportive of what I'm doing, and that just makes it all worth it,” she continued. “My advice to them is just be confident in your own skin, [and] know that an extra layer of clothing does not define your beauty, because beauty is within.”
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