A MUSLIM woman will become the first Miss Universe GB contestant to take the stage in a kaftan instead of a bikini after challenging organisers over her faith.
Muna Jama, 27, was first invited to take part in the competition two years ago, but pulled out because she was worried about the swimwear round.
But after a life-changing trip volunteering to help refugees in Egypt and Somalia, she plucked up the courage to take part – but only on her terms.
Courageous Muna convinced judges to agree after deciding she wouldn’t compromise her faith for the sake of winning.
Stunning Muna, from Forest Gate, East London, said: “I wouldn’t wear a bikini to a beach, so I’m not going to wear one in a competition to score points.”
The former car saleswoman hopes to raise awareness of the migrant crisis, with many risking their lives to cross the Mediterranean from Somalia – the country her own parents left in 1989.
She said: “I became very involved in the project and going to Somalia. Most of the people travelling across the Mediterranean Sea are Eritrean, Somalian and Syrian.
“I’m Somalian and I felt something needed to be done.”
She quit her job to travel to the Middle East and meet children who may end up risking their lives on overcrowded boats in the hands of people smugglers.
It made her rethink taking part in Miss Universe GB in Cardiff in July to share her experience with a huge audience.
Muna said: “These pageants are associated with beauty and modelling but over the years there has been a platform for other females using their platform differently.
“What I wanted to do was to raise awareness of what I have been working so hard for.
“It took a bit of back and forward with Miss Universe. They said they were happy to allow me to compete.
“It wasn’t easy but I think it was the first time they have heard someone asking for it.
“I thought they are either going to say yes or no, and I get to talk about what I’m passionate about.”
The three-day event includes a dinner, a catwalk and an empowerment day by a top leadership coach.
This year was Muna’s last chance to take part, as the pageant is only open to women aged 18 to 27.
She will go up against 39 other contestants for the chance to represent Great Britain in the worldwide pageant in Budapest next year.