One contender from the UK is rewriting the rules.
Watching contestants parade around in barely-there swimsuits is synonymous with the world of beauty pageants the way sashes and rictus grins and pledges for “world peace” are.
But now one contestant has thrown out the rulebook, and competed in the finals for Miss Universe Great Britain wearing a caftan, rather than a two-piece.
Muna Jama, from London, is Muslim and earlier this year won the right to compete in the famed competition wearing a caftan. It is the first time in the history of the competition that a contestant has not donned a revealing bikini.
It has been a long road for Jama to stepping onto the Miss Universe stage.
Two years ago, she applied to represent the UK and made it to the finals, but bowed out out of concern about appearing in a swimsuit.
However, this year, Jama, who is the co-founder of a startup tackling illegal migration and child abuse in Africa, decided to apply again, but this time petitioned officials to be allowed to wear a caftan.
“I wouldn’t wear a bikini to a beach, so I’m not going to wear one in a competition to score points,” she has told Metro.co.uk.
While the competition was won by Anna Burdzy, who will represent Great Britain, 27-year-old Jama has taken to Instagram to reflect on her history-making turn on the catwalk.
“It takes bravery, emotional resilience and most importantly surrounding yourself with strong minded people who are prepared to make great sacrifices to welcome permanent and positive change,” Jama wrote.
Slay all day, Jama.
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