Contestant Halima Aden wears hijab, burkini to inspire others

Halima Aden said taking part in the pageant was intended to inspire others.

Story highlights

  • Halima Aden takes part in pageant, wear traditional Muslim clothing
  • She says she hopes to inspire others

(CNN)While most Americans were still recovering from Thanksgiving feast over the holiday weekend, Halima Aden was making history.

The 19-year-old St. Cloud State University freshman walked across the Miss Minnesota USA pageant stage Saturday night draped from head to toe in a blue-embroidered burkini and a bright yellow headscarf. During the two-day beauty pageant, Aden showed only her face, making her the first contestant to wear a hijab and a burkini in the pageant.
But this was much more than a fashion choice producing uproarious applause; it was a decision that was meant to inspire. According to Aden, this pageant was an opportunity to dispel the narrative that many Muslim women are oppressed.
    Aden, 19, says she was bullied for