Aysha Khan, 21, from Blackburn said, Her Faith Made Her Wary of Posing in Revealing Swimwear

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Aysha Khan, 21, from Blackburn, Lancashire, was the only one out of 49 regional entrants to opt for the full-body covering instead of a more revealing bikini or swimming costume.

The student, who is currently Miss Lancashire, said her Muslim faith made her wary of posing in revealing ensembles, and that without them she felt just as mod as the other girls.

Miss England banned the swimwear round in 2014 but contestants can still compete in the optional Miss Beach Beauty competition – which grants the winner a trip to Mauritius.

They are also fast-tracked to the top 20 of the overall competition – which sees 54 women compete for the title.

Aysha insisting she would only be photographed in an all-enveloping wetsuit.

She explained: ‘It’s a choice to dress with less clothing, it’s also a choice to dress with more and both are equally as empowering.

‘Wearing a bikini isn’t the only form of swimwear that exists. I wanted to push the message forward that it’s very much your choice to wear more clothing and cover up.

‘Yes, some women can feel empowered by wearing less clothing and celebrating their body confidence and I respect that. But for me, choosing to cover up is equally empowering and I really wanted to show that.’

‘Obviously, I am Muslim and I do follow a religion where it’s not so easy for me to parade around in a bikini.

‘But I didn’t want to ever let that stop me. I’ve never compromised myself and I’ve dressed modestly throughout the competition. And I really believe that’s helped me become successful so far.’

Aysha’s hoping her success will inspire more young women from ethnic backgrounds to follow in her footsteps, and insisted there was more to the competition than just beauty.

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