Usually, we aren’t that excited about beauty pageant news. We mean, really, there are pageants, people win a crown, the cycle continues. Not much to report, right? Well, as of this past weekend, the pageant world got a whole lot more exciting and interesting with the Miss Minnesota USA pageant’s Somali-born contestant Halima Aden. While we’ve mostly been obsessing over The Crown, this new development is one that might actually get us excited about pageants for the first time ever.

Sunday night’s Miss Minnesota USA Pageant had Halima compete in her hijab, a traditional Muslim head covering for women. The 19-year-old is the first pageant contestant ever to don one in competition. During the swimsuit portion, Halima wore her “burkini,” the name given to a full piece swimsuit originally designed simply for modest women to wear at the beach, but embraced by Muslim women the world over.

While her mother isn’t 100-percent on board with her competing in Miss USA, Halima, who hopes to be a UN Ambassador in the future, sees that inter-generational differences should be both embraced and challenged, “We (Halima and her mom) do come from two different generations. I feel like we’re a little bit more Americanized than our parents are. She doesn’t understand it because it’s not something that exists back home.”

Unfortunately, Halima didn’t take home the crown this time (but was a semi-finalist!), but her passion for helping show people that their similarities are stronger than their differences will hopefully carry over, and we’ll see more women of different faiths participating in pageants across the country soon. That would definitely make us way more interested in checking them out in the future.

Would you like to see more diversity in beauty pageants? Tell us @BritandCo!

(Photos via Halima Aden; h/t