First hijabi Miss World contestant makes top 40, alongside Philippines, India and US

Khadija Omar, from Somalia, is the first beauty queen to represent her country and wear a hijab in the pageant

Khadija Omar is the first Miss World Somalia and the first hijabi contestant to take part in the beauty pageant. Photo: Khadija Omar
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Khadija Omar, the first hijab-wearing Miss World contestant and the first to represent her home country, Somalia, has made it to the top 40.

The world-renowned beauty pageant, which was postponed in December after an outbreak of Covid-19 among contestants and staff, recently announced its fast-track 15 winners and 25 judges' choices.

Miss Somalia was chosen by the judges, alongside participants from Indonesia, Sri Lanka, Ireland, Malaysia, China and Iceland, to name a few.

Miss Philippines and Miss India were both announced in the top 15, alongside women from England, the US and Nepal.

See photos of Miss World 2021 contestants in Puerto Rico:

"Words cannot express how proud I am of the milestones we’ve crossed this year and last," Omar wrote on Instagram as the top 40 names were announced. "Somalia has made so much history and continues to do so.

"Making the top 40 has shown me just how much hard work really pays off and how dreams really do come true. To everyone who supported me through this journey, I will forever be grateful. To my country and my team, thank you for giving me this opportunity, I will do my best to continue making you proud."

The reigning Miss World is Toni-Ann Singh. She is the longest title-holder in history following the delay of the annual beauty pageant for the second year.

Singh, who is Miss Jamaica World 2019, was crowned Miss World in 2019 but held on to her title after the event was cancelled in 2020 owing to the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2021 finals will now take place in Puerto Rico on March 16.

"Congratulations to our Top 40 who are invited to return to San Juan, Puerto Rico on March 12th to continue their quest to be crowned the 70th Miss World," read a post on Facebook from the Miss World Organisation.

"Julia Morley and her Miss World team would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the contestants from the 97 countries that have contributed so much to this year's event. We are sad that you cannot all return for the finale, but we really hope that every country will join with us online on March 16th."

While these 40 will be moving ahead in the competition, all 97 Miss World contestants in 2021 will be featured in the 70th Miss World final, which will be broadcast live from the Coliseo De Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot.

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Updated: February 01, 2022, 8:50 AM