This weekend in Burnsville the brightest and most beautiful women from throughout our great state will compete to be the next Miss Minnesota USA. However, the winner may just be a trailblazer.

Introducing 19 year old Halima Aden.  She's a resident of St. Cloud and is doing what no one has done before, wearing traditional Muslim clothing to compete. That means you will not see her wearing the same types of clothes like the rest of the contestants. She will not sport a one piece or a bikini either for swimwear. Halima will wear a hijab, covering her head and chest for some and she'll also wear a burkini.

Why let one contestant's attire differ so far from the rest?  Denise Wallace, Co-Executive Director of Miss Minnesota USA, says the organization is inclusive.

The Miss Universe Organization is a company run by women for women, built on a foundation of inclusion and continues to be a celebration of diversity. The decision of Future Productions, official producers of the Miss Minnesota USA state preliminary pageant, to allow Halima to wear a swimsuit that would be deemed acceptable by her culture and that she would be comfortable wearing on stage is in line with the values of the Miss Universe Organization in empowering women to be confidently beautiful.  The Miss Universe Organization knows that a confident woman has the power to make real change, starting in her local community with the potential to reach a global audience.

For those of you wondering what a hijab and a burkini looks like, check these out.

About Halima:

  • She was born in Kenya.
  • Moved to Minnesota at the age of 6.
  • Is a student at St. Cloud State University.

Halima says she's representing Minnesota and the Somali community, but it should just be one community.  She's hoping to open the door for many other girls. Here she explains more...

You can vote for Halima here.

Learn more about Halima here.