Maria Mahmood, 20, is from Birmingham. She made through to the semis of the beauty pageant and is likely to reach the final and if she wins, she will be first hijab wearing Miss England and then could also be competing for Miss World competition.
”It’s pretty rare for a Muslim woman to be in a beauty pageant but there’s nothing to stop us entering ”, says Maria.
Maria is a psychology student and aims to be a social worker. While talking to British daily she said, ”Muslims are associated with negative things like terrorism. I’m determined to do my bit to challenge those views”.
”I entered Miss Birmingham and the organizers were delighted to have a hijab wearing Muslim in the competition, they fast tracked me through to the final where I competed against 30 girls and came second. I couldn’t believe it”, says Maria sharing her experience at the beauty pageant.
Maria’s father is a taxi driver and mother is a part time worker at school. She tells about how supportive her family is. She thinks what she is doing is empowering for the Muslim Women. Maria added, ”Obviously, I’m not going to parade on stage in a bikini as that is going against my religion and beliefs. I’ll wear a burkini.”
The Miss England semi final will be held in Newark, Notts, in July. If Maria Mehmood wins, she will be second Muslim but first hijabi Miss England. Hammasa Kohistani was the first Muslim crowned Miss England at the age of 18 in 2005.