Halima Aden: Muslim Girl Breaks Barriers
Halima came back to the pageant sphere as a judge for Sunday's 2017 Miss USA competition. She spoke about prepping for the grand night in Vegas -- what she looks for in a beauty queen and what she hopes to look up-to as a role model.
When asked what inspired her to be a part of the pageants, Halima said,
“Growing up, I couldn’t relate to anybody I saw in the media. I couldn’t pick a magazine or a channel and see someone who resembled me, or had [a similar] story. I wanted to change that.”
She realised that in the world of today, people could use a positive image or a person that can represent Muslim women,
“As for Miss USA… everyone knows the Miss Universe organisation. I think everyone tunes in for, or at least knows about, the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants. So I knew that if I wanted to give pageants a try, it would be the right organisation for me,” she further added.
“My family is first-generation American. For my mom, this is a totally different culture. She escaped civil war in Somalia, went to a refugee camp in Kenya and got us here. Her dreams were to see me educated, so I get why she was a little hesitant at first.”
“We had to talk about it a lot and I told her that education is important to me too, I’m in college now but taking a semester off, to look at it from all sides. I explained that, you might not know because you didn’t grow up here but I did and I didn’t get to see Muslim women represented and that affected me. It was just a matter of walking her through [my plans] step by step. But she’s now onboard!”
And then came the pageant,
“Honestly, I didn’t worry much about what my gown was going to look like or what my walk would be. I mean, I’m not picky but I didn’t even get my outfit until two days before the pageant! And my makeup artist hooked me up with the skirt I wore, which belonged to one of the girls who was competing for Miss Teen Minnesota USA” she revealed.
“It was all about the sisterhood! I was excited to have fun and to meet the other girls. I wanted to make new friends. These are all women who’ve accomplished so much at the local level, so why not? You can come home with a great network of women. Everyone was so welcoming and I did go home with a few new friends.”