MINNEAPOLIS - Halima Aden made history on the beauty pageant circuit.
BuzzFeed News reported that Aden, a 19-year-old Somali-American student at St. Cloud State University, competed at the Miss Minnesota USA pageant with a hijab. WCCO reported that Aden was the first fully covered Muslim woman to compete in the pageant.
Aden told the Star Tribune that her decision to compete was met with some disagreement from her mother and some Somali community members.
Aden's mother, who did not want to be named for privacy reasons, said that she would rather her daughter focus on school.
For the swimsuit portion of the competition, Aden wore a burkini and added a long skirt to cover the pants, at her mother's request.
Aden did not win Sunday -- Meridith Gould was crowned Miss Minnesota Sunday and will compete in the 2016 Miss USA pageant. But for Aden, competing was not only about winning but for the platform to challenge misconceptions and breaking barriers for Muslim women.
"The hijab is a symbol that we wear on our heads, but I want people to know that it is my choice. I’m doing it because I want to do it," Aden told the Star Tribune. "I wanted people to see that you could still be really cute and modest at the same time."
"For a really long time I thought being different was a negative thing. But as I grew older, I started to realize we are all born to stand out, nobody is born to blend in," Aden told WCCO. "How boring would this world be if everyone was the same?"