'I hope that this opportunity will help break boundaries and stereotypes. I also hope that together we can redefine the meaning of what beauty is'
Hijabi student makes it into the Miss Universe finals in New Zealand
Somali-American model Halima Aden made waves in 2016 as a Miss America contestant and a hijabi (and she's now a major international model who walks the world's most prestigious runways). And in August, a hijabi will compete in the Miss Universe finals in New Zealand.
If she wins, she will then go on to compete for the title of Miss Universe at a pageant in the United States (with Filipina winner Pia Wurtzbach as one of the judges). She would then be the first hijabi to compete for the main title.
"As a hijabi I will be the first in New Zealand to make it to the finals and one of the first in the world to ever do so," Shamsul said of her place in the finals. "I hope that this opportunity will help break boundaries and stereotypes. I also hope that together we can redefine the meaning of what beauty is."
The 20-year-old is a student in the New Zealand town of Hamilton, and she is of both Malaysian and Indonesian heritage.
Last year, Muna Jama, 27, made history when she competed in the Miss Universe Great Britain competition, and chose to wear a kaftan during the swimsuit section of the competition. "I wouldn't wear a bikini to the beach, so I'm not going to wear one in a competition to score points," Jama told Metro at the time of not compromising her Muslim faith in her role as a pageant contestant.
Here is Muna Jama with Halima Aden at last year's Dubai Modest Fashion Week - she captioned this image, "representation is important":