Published: 2017-08-08 23:30
Last Updated: 2017-08-08 23:30
History was made by an unconventional contestant at the Miss Universe Great Britain beauty pageant.
Social media exploded in support of 27 year-old Muna Jama, a Muslim Somali woman who braved media scrutiny by defending her culture and principles.
“I wouldn’t wear a bikini to the beach, so I’m not going to wear one in a competition to score points,” says Jama to Metro UK, becoming the first woman in history to wear a Kuftan for the swimsuit portion of the pageant.
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. I may not be able to unwrite a moment in my life but I know a moment will never define me. I will always rise above your expectations and pushed past your limitations. You are what you say you are, and your imaginations can be your worst enemy unless you overcome your fears. Be careful of what you think of others because it's a reflection of what you are. Work at being a better person, and one day we can welcome a better World. . . This moment has proved that I am capable of almost anything I set my mind to and limitations is a status waiting to be changed. I thank everyone who stood beside me and believed in my vision.#missuniverse #mugb2017 #missuniversegb #fear #migrant #refugee #positive #change #love #modelling #friends #family #girls #pageant #empowerment #inspiration #inspire #aspire #history #munajama #caftan #kaftan #stage #london #dubai #love #indonesia #malaysia @missuniversegb Photographer @leedarephotography
She dazzled in black platform heels, a sparkly choker and hoop earrings, making her overall presentation absolutely stunning.
Jama, a former saleswoman, was invited to participate in Miss Universe GB two years ago, but declined as the pageant refused anything other than a traditional bikini during swimsuit portion. Two years later, she comes back strong, confident and determined after she was allowed to represent her religious and cultural values during the swimsuit round, by refusing to wear the traditional bikini.
On her instagram account Jama said:
“This moment has proven that I am capable of almost anything I set my mind to, and limitations is a status waiting to be changed. I thank everyone who stood beside me and believed in my vision.”
Beauty pageants featuring women in swimsuits were popular in the United States since the 1880’s, but were rarely deemed as respectable. Jama has taken the opportunity to shift the narrative by empowering herself and other women like her.
Currently, Ms. Jama is focused on being a co-founder of a startup that tackles child abuse and the migrant crisis. She continues to advocate for children and refugees from Egypt and Somalia; both countries played a crucial role in building her confidence in her Somali identity after visiting them.
Perceived as a strong example of a confident young woman, she encourages her followers to stay true to themselves and their beliefs saying:
“There is no doubt if you uphold your beliefs and worship, you uphold your principles, you uphold the right mindset, and remain forever thankful, sit back and watch God almighty give you new opportunities and another chance.”