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Miss Minnesota Contestant Makes History by Sporting Hijab, Burkini

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A photo posted by Halima Aden (@kinglimaa) on

Forget any beauty pageant’s typical vaseline-teeth, bleached-blond hair or sexy two-pieces — a Miss Minnesota pageant contestant made history on Saturday (November 26) by remaining mostly covered up.

Nineteen-year-old Halima Aden, who was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, competed at this weekend’s event while sporting both a hijab and a burkini — the first time the contest has seen either. What’s more, the Waite Park, Minnesota resident made it to Miss Minnesota’s Top 15, and only narrowly missed a Top 5 spot, which would have kept her dreams toward advancing to Miss USA alive.

Aden told Minneapolis’ local KARE 11 that she’s got no regrets about entering, and that she’ll continue to champion the power of self-acceptance.

“A lot of people will look at you and will fail to see your beauty because you’re covered up and they’re not used to it,” she said. “So growing up, I just had to work on my people skills and give people a chance to really know me besides the clothing. Be who you are. It’s easy to feel like you have to blend in, but it takes courage to live your life with conviction and embrace the person that you are.”

“‘Be You’ was what my aunt always told me,” she added in a Facebook post. “And tonight I finally realized what she meant. This has been such a fun experience! Thank you so much to everyone who came out and cheered. I didn’t come home with a crown but I did come home to a ton of DMs.”

Look back at a Collection of Truly Stunning Stage Costumes:

Next: Miss Teen USA Will Keep Her Crown Despite Racist Tweets

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