About a month ago, Miss Universe New Zealand 2018 announced to Nurul Shamsul that she has been selected as a finalist. It was a ground-breaking moment, leaving her with the title of the world’s first Muslim Hijabi to ever get through to the finals in New Zealand!
Nurul was born in Ampang, Selangor but she was raised in New Zealand from the early age of five years old. Nevertheless, she has always kept her culture and traditions close to her heart, including her family’s Indonesian roots. Her aim to break boundaries and stereotypes began even before participating in Miss Universe, Nurul is very passionate about embracing different cultures, eradicating poverty and fighting for human rights.
Being the first person in her family to attend University, she has big dreams of becoming a community psychologist after graduating from the University of Waikato, where she is currently studying towards a Bachelor of Social Science with a Major in Psychology and a Minor in Social Policy.
When she’s not studying, Nurul loves to write poetry. Her poem ‘The Liberation of Wine’ was first published when she was 17 years old in the 50th edition of New Zealand Poetry, the country’s longest-running poetry magazine. The poem revolved around being proud of her identity as a Muslim woman.
On the blog where she documents her journey, Nurul wrote, to explain why she chose to take part in the beauty pagent: “Miss Universe is not a typical ‘beauty’ pageant. The pageant itself is more focused on one’s character and their ability to do a successful entrepreneur challenge to help a charity in need (for New Zealand it is Variety). There were no measurements of my height or my weight and so it isn’t superficial or demeaning. I can personally vouch that Miss Universe is more than physical beauty and I wouldn’t have competed in the pageant if it was against my own morals or values.”
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