19-Year-Old Halima Aden is The First Somali-American to Participate in the Miss Minnesota USA Competition.

Halima Aden
via Instagram

Nineteen-year-old Halima Aden broke barriers over the weekend by becoming the first Somali-American to participate in the Miss Minnesota USA competition.

Aden competed while wearing a hijab and also sported a burkini for the swimsuit competition. While she didn’t make the top 5, but managed to place in the top 15, Aden acknowledges the impact of her appearance in the competition. She took the time out to address Islamophobia.

“The people that are doing bad things, they don’t represent an entire group,” Aden said.

“I feel like I’m here to bust those misconceptions and stereotypes of Muslim women,” she added.

Aden was born in a Kenyan refugee camp, where she lived until she was 6 years-old. She then relocated to the United States with her family. She attends college at St. Cloud State and to become a U.S. Ambassador one day.

The Miss Minnesota Teen USA organization also supported her choice to compete.

“The organization continues to evolve as women evolve,” said the director of Miss Minnesota USA and Miss Minnesota Teen USA, Denise Wallace. “The Miss Universe organization is proud to be the forefront of the diversity of beauty.”