x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Six other Muslim beauty queens

Shanna Bukhari is one of a number of Muslim beauties who have entered national and international pageants. M introduces you to six others.

Sarah Mendly, Miss Nottingham 2005. Getty Images / Gallo Images
Sarah Mendly, Miss Nottingham 2005. Getty Images / Gallo Images

ASLI BAYRAM, MISS GERMANY 2005 Bayram took everybody by surprise when she became the first contestant of Turkish origin to become Miss Germany. She has a bullet wound from the time a neo-Nazi neighbour shot her father at their home in Darmstadt. The Muslim beauty earned great acclaim for playing Anne Frank in a play based on the life of the Jewish girl.

 

HAMMASA KOHISTANI, MISS ENGLAND 2005 The first Muslim contestant to be crowned Miss England, she won at the age of 18. The multilingual Kohistani was born in Uzbekistan, with familial roots in Afghanistan. After moving to London with her parents, she studied politics, sociology and other subjects at A-Level, and then became a model. She is an experienced dancer.

 

SARAH MENDLY, MISS NOTTINGHAM 2005 Unlike the usual skinny contestants, Mendly is a curvy size 12. Born in Abu Dhabi, this Iraqi beauty won by the highest number of text votes, and is proud to have had the support of her family even though some Islamic leaders opposed her participation in the pageant.

 

SABRINA HOUSSAMI, MISS WORLD AUSTRALIA 2006 Born in Australia to an Indian mother and a Muslim-Lebanese father, Houssami was also Miss World Asia Pacific and the second runner-up to Miss World 2006. A student of the University of Sydney and a Mensa member, she says she suffered discrimination in her teens because of her cultural background. She appeared in the Australian version of the reality show The Apprentice.

 

NORA ALI, AMERICA'S JUNIOR MISS 2007 Ali won over the audience with her confident personality and her ability to play the violin, thus becoming the first Muslim America's Junior Miss (the pageant now is known as Distinguished Young Women). The American-born Harvard student of Bangladeshi descent won a US$50,000 (Dh183,650) scholarship. She wants to be a chief executive and a philanthropist.

 

RIMA FAKIH, MISS USA 2010 Born in Lebanon, Fakih moved to New York with her family when she was eight years old, and relocated to Michigan 10 years later. Brought up in both the Islamic and the Christian faiths, she earned degrees in economics and business management from the University of Michigan. At 19, she stood third after representing Michigan in the Miss Lebanon Emigrant contest. She is considered the first Muslim American to win the Miss USA title.