A Somali-American teen made the Miss Minnesota USA semifinals as the first contestant ever dressed in accordance with Muslim religious principles.
St. Cloud State University freshman Halima Aden, 19, wore a headscarf and a burkini for the bathing suit competition Saturday night and showed only her face during the two-day beauty pageant, WCCO-TV reported. She wanted to make a statement, she said.
“For a really long time I thought being different was a negative thing. But as I grew older, I started to realize we are all born to stand out, nobody is born to blend in,” Aden told the TV station. “How boring would this world be if everyone was the same?”
Pageant executive co-director Denise Wallace told the audience that Aden was “making history” as she strutted across the stage at Burnsville Performing Arts Center. Aden’s family, who immigrated to the U.S. as refugees when she was 7 years old, joined in the roaring applause.