Miss England contestant in hijab first

Sara Iftekhar is set to become the first entrant to wear a hijab in a Miss England final. (Shutterstock)
Updated 04 September 2018
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Miss England contestant in hijab first

  • Sara Iftekhar, a law student, is among 50 competitors for the Miss England crown and hopes to become the first Muslim winner
  • Iftekhar is a make-up artist and often shares pictures of herself wearing traditional Pakistani dress on social media

LONDON: A Miss England contestant is set to wear a hijab in the finals on Tuesday, in a first for the organization.
Sara Iftekhar, a law student, is among 50 competitors for the Miss England crown and hopes to become the first Muslim winner.
“It just proves Miss England represents the way England is today,” competition spokeswoman Angie Beasley was quoted as saying by the Daily Mail newspaper.
Iftekhar, 20, has already won the Miss Huddersfield title, representing the northern English market town.
She is a make-up artist and often shares pictures of herself wearing traditional Pakistani dress on social media.

 


The student started a clothing business aged 16.
“I may be the first woman to wear a hijab. However, I am just a regular girl and we all have a fair opportunity in this contest,” the BBC quoted her as saying.
“If I want to cover myself up and dress modestly why should that be an issue? I am just like the other contestants.”
The first stage of the competition was held in July, including the sports beach beauty, top model, beautiful mind and publicity rounds.
“Here is a vibrant, confident young woman who is proving, on a huge platform, that beauty comes in many forms, that Muslim women in hijabs can be beautiful, and that we can own our beauty,” wrote Iqra Choudhry in The Independent online newspaper.
“The fact that she’s reached the Miss England finals is something that should be celebrated by the Muslim community, and by women at large.”
Tuesday’s events in the second stage at Kelham Hall in Nottinghamshire, central England, will round up the ethical fashion show, talent and evening wear catwalk sections of the contest.
Public voting by text message closed at midday (1100 GMT) on Tuesday.
The 2018 Miss World finals are being held in Sanya, China, in November and December.
Miss World started in 1951.


Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

Coco Sabon. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

  • Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world”

RIYADH: The healing and relaxing powers of nature are at the heart of Coco Sabon’s philosophy.
Launched by Dr. Cynthia Mosher — an American living in Riyadh — the skincare firm is committed to sourcing high-quality, natural oriental ingredients that provide the skin with gentle care and nourishment.
“I launched Coco Sabon in November 2015 at Alfaisal University’s first bazaar,” she said.
Mosher, who completed a bachelor of science in natural health sciences, said she hoped to do something more than simply diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. She also wanted to have time for other important things and people, so now she is working as an educator, training a new generation of medical students.
She encourages people to make healthy choices when it comes to ingredients they use on their bodies.
“I fell in love with formulating and creating beautiful, natural skincare products. I continued my creative journey while pursuing my medical degree, which deepened my commitment to develop ‘do no harm’ skincare based on natural ingredients,” she said.
“Layered with my admiration of Arabian culture, the rich regional ingredients, and my passion for integrative medicine, I developed a deep sense of holistic self-care that guides my formulations. My love for the fragrances, natural remedies and skincare routines of the Middle East are the heart and soul of Coco Sabon.”
There is a growing demand for Coco Sabon products. “After years of requests from family and friends to make and sell my products, I tested the waters, so to speak. We sold out of everything that day.”
She added: “About six weeks later we were invited to participate at the Gathering in Al-Bujairi in January 2016. We had a crowd of customers nonstop for three days and again sold out of everything. It was a decisive weekend. Coco Sabon was born and we have not looked back since.”
Mosher’s family and friends offered encouragement, but one of her strongest supporters was her best friend, Audrey Wilkinson. She said: “Audrey was my supporter, helper and adviser. She now works with me, formulating and producing our candles, cremes and face care line.”
Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world.”
The brand offers a wide range of products, including soap, bath bombs, scrubs, cremes, face and body oils, perfumes and candles.
“Everything is produced by hand in small batches here in Riyadh using natural, safe and organic ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible,” Mosher said.
Coco Sabon believes in supporting local businesses and in sourcing the best ingredients possible. The store also designs its packaging and hand packages, labels and wraps each item, selling through an online store (cocosabon.com), Instagram, WhatsApp, and local popup shop events.
Mosher has also started offering workshops on making her products.
“Some might think that to be unwise because I could very well teach a future competitor,” she said. “Well, that’s true for the medical students I teach now. Should I withhold my knowledge for fear of them becoming better doctors and doing better? Of course not. The more knowledge we put out there, the better our society will be. The workshops also help build community.
“I connect with people who are curious, who want to learn how to create and how to make good choices for their health. I welcome workshop students young and older (my youngest so far was just 6 years old), and I encourage them to take what they learn and use it to improve their lives and that of others around them. If they make a business out of doing so, then good for them. We all have something to offer the world,” she said.
Mosher is happy that she created a job she loves. “Sometimes I miss practicing clinical medicine, but I remind myself that I am helping people make healthier choices for their bodies, their minds, their souls and the planet,” she said.
“That’s a special kind of medicine that I believe can help heal the world.”