Minnesota woman competes for Miss USA with hijab, burkini

Miss Minnesota USA 2016 Bridget Jacobs, right, poses with Halima Aden, 19, from St. Cloud, the first fully-covered Muslim contestant participating in the Miss Minnesota USA competition in Burnsville, Minnesota, on November 26, 2016.

Miss Minnesota pageant/Handout

BURNSVILLE, Minn. - A Muslim woman has become the first to compete in the Miss Minnesota USA pageant while fully clothed.

Halima Aden made the semifinals of the competition over the weekend while wearing a hijab. CBS Minnesota reports she also wore a full-body outfit called a burkini during the swimsuit competition.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports Aden’s swim outfit stood in contrast to those of the other 44 contestants, most of whom wore bikinis.

Before the competition, the 19-year-old Somali-American woman told CBS Minnesota she wanted to use the Miss Minnesota USA stage as an opportunity to change misconceptions about Islam.

“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 said. “How boring would this world be if everyone was the same?”

Aden didn’t win the contest this year. Meridith Gould of Minneapolis was crowned Miss Minnesota. She will go on to compete in the Miss USA pageant in 2017.