10:51 GMT +319 November 2019
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    Aysha Khan, an Instagram photo

    Muslim Student Becomes First Miss England Contestant to Not Wear Bikini in Swimsuit Round

    © Photo: Instagram / lovexaysha
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    Aysha became the first contender of Muslim heritage to win the Miss Lancashire title, and is currently competing with some 50 ladies in the Miss England pageant.

    Meet Aysha Khan, the first Miss England participant to wear a full-body swimsuit instead of the traditional bikini.

    The 21-year-old Muslim student at Manchester Metropolitan University was crowned Miss Lancashire in January and automatically advanced to the next stage.

    Although the mandatory swimwear round was banned in 2010, the contestants can still take part in the optional Miss Beach Beauty competition to promote body confidence and a healthy lifestyle. 

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    Публикация от MISS LANCASHIRE 2019 (@lovexaysha)

    The winner of this round will be awarded a luxury trip to Mauritius and get fast-tracked into the top 20 in the Miss England chart, which features over 50 contestants overall.

    Aysha, from Blackburn, decided to enter the round to push forward the message that ‘swimwear’ doesn’t necessarily mean a bikini.

    “I don’t really show much skin, because that’s what makes me feel comfortable,” she told The Sun.

    “Empowerment is a personal feeling, and not wearing a bikini doesn’t mean I’m not confident about my body. And I didn’t wear a wetsuit because my religion prohibits me.”

    “I knew the round was optional but I didn’t want to miss out. I wanted to compete but without wearing a bikini or swimsuit and without showing my legs or body. So I wore a wetsuit because it’s my personal choice.”

    Посмотреть эту публикацию в Instagram

    Публикация от MISS LANCASHIRE 2019 (@lovexaysha)

    Aysha revealed that she had received a lot of messages of support, alongside a few negative ones telling her to ‘go back’.

    The final of Miss England will take place on 1 August in Newcastle, and the victor – chosen both by judges and through a public vote – will be automatically entered into the Miss World contest to be held in London in December.

    Last year, Muslim student Sara Iftekhar became the first woman to wear a hijab in the Miss England finals, while Somali-American Halima Aden emerged as the first hijab- and burkini-wearing woman to grace Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit edition.

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