Ground-breaking: initial NZ beauty competitor in hijab

June 11, 2018 - miss universe

For Nurul Shamsul, her biggest regard right now is perplexing to stay hydrated while she observes Ramadan during a shelter in Thailand. It wouldn’t do to gloomy during a print shoot. “But I’m certain we can do it,” she says.

Determination seems to be a large partial of her personality; that and her faith in Islam.

The Malaysian-born Waikato University tyro is one of 20 finalists for Miss Universe New Zealand 2018, and a 20 year-old self-described “farm girl” from Morrinsville is creation story as a initial competitor to wear hijab in a annual foe here.

Nurul Shamsul. Photo pleasantness Alan Raga Photography.

Observing Ramadan, during Waikato University before a outing to a shelter in Thailand. Photo RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Nurul age 5 with family during their dual story pinkish farmhouse in Morrinsville.

Family support, (left to right) father Ahmad, Nurul, silent Anie and youngest hermit Muhammad during home in Morrinsville. Photo RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Beloved tyro leader, Nurul Shamsul and Principal John M Ingar during her former high propagandize Morrinsville College. Photo RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Nurul, centre was Te Amokura personality during Morrinsville College. Photo RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Matua Potaka is a large fan of Nurul’s care skills.

Nurul’s ‘Beyond Beauty’ eventuality 24 June, Zealong Tea Estate, to lift supports for Variety Charity and to commission women.

Jack Yan during Wellington Stiletto Camp. Photo pleasantness Alan Raga photographer

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Nurul’s not a initial Muslim lady in a universe to enclose a hijab in a Miss Universe-affiliated pageant; 19-year-old Somali-American Halima Aden entered Miss Minnesota USA in 2016 wearing hijab and burkini.

However Nurul’s still a torchbearer and her story is going viral opposite Malaysia, where she’s spin something of an icon. Berita Harian, a Malay Mail, Radio Ezra and Emirates Woman are now clamouring for interviews. She wants to give immature Muslim women a prominence they can be unapproachable of.

“A lot of Muslim girls are frightened of wearing a hijab given of probable harassment. we wish that by wearing a hijab in this foe I’ll uncover some confidence. It’s fine to wear a hijab, you’ll still demeanour pleasing in a hijab.”

Walking a sensuous drift during a University of Waikato before boarding a craft to Thailand, Nurul tells me she’s in her final year of a Bachelor of Social Science in Psychology and Social Policy. She’s also a initial in her family to attend university, a contrariety to when she initial arrived in Morrinsville aged five.

“Yeah we remember nearing in New Zealand, and it was unequivocally opposite given we didn’t know how to pronounce English during all. When we enrolled during a nation propagandize we was a usually Asian.”

So who accurately is ‘the lady in a booze red scarf’, creation this argumentative position on a Miss Universe NZ stage? If we wish to know usually check out her blog of a same name.

Nurul grew adult in a two-story, pinkish farmhouse and worked during a inner Halal meatworks to acquire slot income during propagandize holidays. She’s regarded as a personality during her former high school, Morrinsville College, already famous for another former student; Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Nurul chose to wear hijab in open usually 3 years ago and says her family never pressured her. “Islam has unequivocally grown within me and in my heart.”

But given enter a beauty pageant, of all things?  “I watched a video of a grand finals and we suspicion to myself what would occur if we entered Miss Universe New Zealand?”

What happened was a duration of low self-reflection.

She describes herself as an Islamic feminist in her blog – so are a beauty pageants during contingency with her faith and a Koran’s edicts to cover a physique and be modest?

“I wish to mangle those stereotypes, we wish to put a certain light on Islam as well.”

With a race of 660 students in a mostly farming community, Principal John Inger couldn’t utterly trust it when he listened about Nurul’s preference to compete.

“I have to contend we was really surprised. Not that she’s not beautiful, given she has a many pleasing nature, though we theory my judgment of Miss Universe is opposite from what it’s all about.”

For Jack Yan and Nigel Godfrey, a co-directors of Miss Universe New Zealand given 2012, it’s been about overhauling a manifestation culture.

“She is a initial hijabi in a competition,” Jack says, “But that’s partial of a farrago that we’ve got of Miss Universe New Zealand.”

“We did ask her – ‘What does it meant to be hijabi?’ We wanted to know if once a media started seeking these questions that she would have a decent answer that was authentic and loyal to herself. And to her credit she did.”

Nurul also wants to spin a enlightenment of beauty inside out. “[I hope] to change a definition of beauty, so it’s not external. Physical beauty always fades, though inner beauty is important. Women and girls they need to know their self-worth.”

However a biggest separator to Nurul entering a foe was usually dual small bits of cloth; a bikini.

The #TimesUp and #MeToo movements have swept opposite a creation in a past year, though Miss Universe New Zealand was already heading a approach in 2012. Jack Yan says that when he and Nigel took over a New Zealand manifestation that year, it was failing. So they got absolved of a bikini line-up.

The changes were described by Paula Sugart, President of Miss Universe, as “The biggest turnaround of any domain in a Miss Universe organisation in a final 20 years.”

Following their lead, Miss America has usually this month forsaken a swimsuit foe too, observant it will no longer decider contestants on their appearance.

Surprised by Nurul’s preference to enter a pageant, silent Anie during home with Nurul (right).
Photo: RNZ Lynda Chanwai-Earle

Even so, Nurul’s relatives and dual younger brothers were gob-smacked when they schooled of her choice to enter a pageant.

At their atmospheric Morrinsville home, silent Anie says a initial thing they asked was either Nurul had to display herself.  “I small bit nervous, it’s not a Muslim way.”

Anie laughs, recalling service during Nurul’s answer, “No, we don’t.”

John Inger is relieved too, “From a Principal’s indicate of perspective and meaningful Nurul really well, I’m also really gratified she won’t have to dress in that bikini.”

But one plea Nurul has to take on is fundraising for a pageant’s designated charity, Variety. So she’s holding a ‘Beyond Beauty’ eventuality lifting recognition around feminist issues like physique image. Invited speakers embody young, Muslim and black Islamic feminist Fatumata Bah.

The finals of a Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be hold on 4 August, screening on Bravo.


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