It may seem hard to believe but up until now, no hijab-wearing woman as competed in the Miss England beauty pageant. However, all that could be about to change …
Maria Mahmood is expected to make it through to the popular competition after reaching the semi-finals thanks to her runner-up win in the Miss Birmingham competition.
The 20-year-old psychology student plans to tackle the swimwear round in a burkini and although she's not the first Muslim in the competition (a non-hijab-wearing Muslim by the name of Hammasa Kohistani won in 2005, aged just 18) she aims to change the stereotypes surrounding the religion.
"Muslims are associated with negative things like terrorism. I'm determined to do my bit to challenge those views,: she told the Mirror. "It's pretty rare for a Muslim woman to be in a beauty pageant but there's nothing to stop us entering.
"I entered Miss Birmingham and the organizers were delighted to have a hijab-wearing Muslim in the competition. They fast-tracked me through to the final where I competed against 30 girls and came second. I couldn't believe it."
While her three bothers and taxi-driver dad have been supportive, she admits some of the older members of her community aren't so keen.
You can't please everyone. Wishing her all the luck for the July event in Newark, Notts.