Beauty Queen Will Be First Miss England Contestant To Wear A Hijab
Muslim beauty queen, Maria Mahmood, is set to be the first Miss England contestant to take to the stage in a hijab.
While a Muslim woman has previously been crowned winner of the beauty pageant, no one has taken part while wearing a hijab.
The 20-year-old, who hails from the West Midlands, was a runner-up in the Miss Birmingham heat, and she then made it through to the semi-finals of the national beauty competition.
If Maria is successful, she will then be able to take part in the Miss England Finals - whoever is crowned Miss England then goes on to represent the nation in the Miss World beauty contest.
According to The Mirror, Maria, who is an aspiring social worker, will take part in the swimwear rounds of the competition while wearing a burkini.
The beauty queen told the newspaper that she wanted to challenge negative stereotypes that Muslims are faced with on a daily basis.
Maria explained: "It's pretty rare for a Muslim woman to be in a beauty pageant but there's nothing to stop us entering.
"I entered Miss Birmingham and the organisers were delighted to have a hijab-wearing Muslim in the competition."
"They fast-tracked me through to the final where I competed against 30 girls and came second."
The psychology student then added: "I couldn't believe it."
Maria also told the publication that her family have been really supportive of her decision, although there have been a few negative comments, and she is preparing herself to receive more.
But it seems like Maria could not care less about what the haters have to say, as she added: "But what I'm doing is empowering for Muslim women. I'm anticipating most people will back me."
The Miss England semi-final will be held in Newart, Nottinghamshire in July this year.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Maria Mahmood ⠀