The first New Zealand beauty contestant to wear a hijab

A 20-year-old from Morrisville is breaking beauty pageant stereotypes, by being the first contestant in Miss Universe New Zealand to wear a hijab.

Malaysian born Nurul Shamsul describes herself as a farm girl, and has been named one of the top 20 finalists for the 2018 competition Radio New Zealand reports.

Shamsul says she only started wearing her hijab in public three years ago, and says her family never pressured her.

She wants to give Muslim women something to be proud of.

"A lot of Muslim girls are scared of wearing the hijab because of possible harassment." Nurul told Radio New Zealand." I hope that by wearing the hijab in this competition I'll show some confidence. It's okay to wear the hijab, you'll still look beautiful in the hijab."

Shamsul  wrote in her blog, The Girl in The Red Wine Scarf, that she didn't enter the competition to get validation from others, or to flaunt her beauty, but to help her growth as a person and to help empower young girls along the way.

The finals of Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 will be held on August 4th.

And she'll continue to spread her message next weekend when she hosts a diversity conference called beyond beauty in Hamilton. Bringing five influential women together to speak at the event.

Jess Molina, blogger and speaker at the event says she is proud seeing Nurul go after she wants. "she is a trail blazer."