A 20-year-old of Malaysian and Indonesian heritage wearing a "tudung" or hijab has broken records by being a Top 20 finalist in Miss Universe New Zealand 2018, Malaysia's The Star reported.
On Instagram, Nurul Shamsul said that as a woman who wears the hijab, she will be the first in New Zealand to make it to the finals and one of the first in the world to achieve such a feat.
"I hope that this opportunity will help break boundaries and stereotypes. I also hope that together we can redefine the meaning of what beauty is," she said.
In another post, Nurul said that being a Muslim remains at the forefront of her beliefs even though she is participating in a beauty pageant.
"I prayed that if this opportunity is good for me and my religion, then I wanted God to let it happen. If it wasn't, then I wanted Him to turn me away from it," she said.
A month ago I was announced as a finalist for Miss Universe New Zealand. I remember the feelings I had before and after the announcement. I prayed that if this opportunity is good for me and my religion, then I wanted God to let it happen. If it wasn’t, then I wanted Him to turn me away from it. Now a couple weeks into the journey and I can tell you that it hasn’t always been easy. But in saying that, I’ve already grown so much as a person. Just never give up. It’s all about trusting that everything will be okay because He knows better. Alhamdulillah, I’m also super grateful for all the love and support so far. I hope that my intentions will always be kept pure and I will try my absolute best to fulfil them, insyaAllah. Also, don’t forget to vote for me, link is in bio. 💖 #missuniverse #missuniversenewzealand #roadtomissuniverse #journeytomissuniverse
Nurul said in a reply to an Instagram commenter that her mother is Indonesian while her father is Malaysian.
She also said that she is currently studying at the University of Waikato, majoring in psychology with a minor in social policy.
"I would love to help communities thrive and liberate and empower individuals in the future," she said.
Nurul is not the first Muslim woman who has donned the hijab in a Miss Universe pageant.
Previously, Somali-British Muna Jama and Somali-American Halima Aden did so when they participated in the Miss Universe Great Britain and Miss Minnesota USA respectively.
The finals of the Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be held on August 4.
The Star has attempted to contact Nurul but was unsuccessful as of press time.