Malaysian/Indonesian Nurul Shamsul has broken record for being the first Muslim woman to be shortlisted in the Top 20 of Miss Universe New Zealand.
Originally from Malaysia (with Indonesian roots), the 20-year-old beauty is a published poet and lifestyle blogger who have lived in New Zealand since she was five, but have always stay true to her culture, traditions and faith.
The hijab-wearing contestant hopes that this opportunity will allow her to break boundaries and stereotypes of beauty pageant competitions. and also to shed and spread positive light to the religion of Islam.
“I hope to break boundaries and stereotypes. I also hope that together we can re-define the standards of beauty. My intention to compete in Miss Universe is to grow into the woman that I want to become and to also empower young girls along the way,” she said on her social media.
“Although it is ordained to wear the hijab, many Muslim girls are worried about wearing the hijab in public because of what people in society think and because of possible harassment. Therefore, by having made it to the finals I hope to help build confidence for Muslim women to wear the hijab.”
Nurul is certainly not the first Muslim woman nor the first hijab-wearing contestant to participate in famous beauty pageant. Somali-British Muna Jama and Somali-American Halima Aden also made headlines when they participated in Miss Universe Great Britain and Miss Minnesota USA respectively.
The Grand Final for Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be held on 4th August 2018 at SKYCITY Theatre.
Find out more at nextmissnz.com.