Nurul Shamsul first ever finalist to wear Hijab at Miss Universe New Zealand 2018

13 Jun 2018 | Camilla Suarez

Nurul Shamsul, a 20-year-old Malaysian Born girl would be the first contestant to wear Hijab at Miss Universe New Zealand 2018. She is not the first women to do this but still, she is a torchbearer to most of the world.

For Nurul Shamsul, her biggest concern right now is trying to stay hydrated while she observes Ramadan at a retreat in Thailand. Another stereotype is about to be broken as Nurul is ready for this challenge. It is a contest for others but a battle for her. It was not easy but, she made it and now she won’t go back.

Nurul’s story is going viral across Malaysia, where she’s become nothing short of an icon. She wants to give young Muslim women a visibility they can be proud of.

“A lot of Muslim girls are scared of wearing the hijab because of possible harassment. I hope that by wearing the hijab in this competition I’ll show some confidence. It’s okay to wear the hijab, you’ll still look beautiful in the hijab”, Nurul explains.

The beautiful diva is a student at the University of Waikato. She’s in her final year of Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology and Social Policy. She’s also the first in her family to attend a university, a contrast to when she first arrived in Morrinsville aged five.


Nurul Shamsul first ever finalist to wear Hijab at Miss Universe New Zealand 2018

(Photo Credits: Nurul Shamsul Instagram Official)

Nurul chose to wear hijab in public only three years ago and says her family never pressured her. So who exactly is ‘the girl in a wine red scarf’, making this controversial stance on the Miss Universe NZ stage? She describes herself as an Islamic feminist in her blog.

Her participation in the competition was a huge surprise for most of the people around her. Her Principal and her family couldn’t quite believe it when they heard about Nurul’s decision to compete. The organizers of the event were intrigued to have a first-ever Hijab wearing contestant to be onboard. So far her motive is to change the definition of beauty and establish a new definition of being Hijabi.

However, the biggest barrier to Nurul entering the competition was just two tiny scraps of cloth; the bikini. Thankfully due to feminist movements like Me Too and Times Up forced organizers to get rid of the bikini line-up last year. It became a blessing in disguise for her.

But one challenge Nurul has to take on is fundraising for the pageant’s designated charity, Variety. So she’s holding a ‘Beyond Beauty’ event raising awareness around feminist issues like body image. Invited speakers include young, Muslim and black Islamic feminist Fatumata Bah.

We can’t say she would win the competition but, the very fact that she is participating in the pageant is a win-win situation. It will change millions of perception related to the Islamic community. The finale of the Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be held on 4th August 2018.