A letter to Miss Kurdistan

Dear Miss Kurdistan,

Hello, I’m your fellow country woman. Technically I’m not the ideal person to write to you, maybe because my bi-annual hair cuts is my only visit to a professional salon; putting together stunning outfits is not my ideal Friday afternoon, and let’s just say I use the same four-colour eye shadow palette for every single event, all year.

Sana Mahmud, Miss Kurdistan 2018 Photo: Safin Hamid, AFP

But you know what? You should not allow me, or anyone else, to define you in that box. A box where us women are objectified for our outer appearances and body shapes. Prove me wrong and show me how you can be relatable in my world too, as boring as it maybe.

After much thought (and observation of previous Miss Kurdistans) I have grown to be against any sort of beauty pageant, including the one you won. I am sure there are many others like me. Society and progress for me is not women walking on catwalks, swaying their hips. With this thought in mind, I want you to know that I dislike reading any destructive comment about you, or other candidates. For you are all girls of my society.

Sana Mahmud, Miss Kurdistan 2018 Photo: Safin Hamid, AFP

Prove me wrong, prove us all wrong and show that you are more than a hip-swaying woman. Show them your personality, your will to touch people’s lives, your determination to heal certain flaws in our society, show them you care about what happens in nursing homes, orphanages, universities and classrooms, show us that you care about a child studying in a colourless school in the freezing cold with a broken window while squeezed between four other students on their bench.

I’ve had enough of words about women rights, then seeing the same person with a filtered closeup photo on instagram with fake lashes, sponge lips, a sharpened pencil nose.. and are they her eyes or not…? Not sure.

You’re beautiful. You don’t need me telling you, right? You’ve had experts, and people from other countries come just to stare at you top-down-right and left approving your beauty. There is no need to fill in the pockets of plastic surgeons, as much as they tell you to do so… promise?

The same woman I see tonight, is the woman I would love to see pass the crown in a year or two time. I would like to walk in a supermarket, see you in your joggers and recognise you.

Your almond, liquid eyes speaks of the beauty of so many of our girls who are still strangled by cultural restrictions and taboos; your thick brows are a story of every Kurdish girl growing up and your smile breeds more happiness because it is rooted in the soul of Kurdistan, Halabja. The nest of one of Kurdistan’s most brutal memories, your beauty is born in a city of ethnic cleansing, shattered hearts and the rest place of over 5, 000 martyrs.

People of your city couldn’t care less about how many milligrams of botox will fill your lips or how curvy your hips are.

Yes, you are beautiful.

You see, my fellow Kurdistani, maybe we expect you to be a representative of ourselves. You may see this as unfair, but as women we would like the woman who is in the public eye to reflect and symbolise us… in someway.

Sana Mahmud, Miss Kurdistan 2018 Photo: Safin Hamid, AFP

Don’t be afraid to post a photo of a pyala of chai, of a book you’re reading, post about a friend you like, a school you visited, and more photos in modest shirt and jeans or in our beautiful jli kurdi. There is more to a woman than pumped lips, perfectly curled hair and curves in her front and back. Oh, and how pricey her shoes are. You have the power to change this image of women, with every photo you post, every word you say and every feeling you write… you, my fellow Kurdish woman can change this image.

In the next 12-24 months you can transform the mind-set of every person sitting behind their electronic gadgets criticising you, your fellow competitors and the event you were a part of. Don’t be afraid to show yourself barefaced and hashtag the image #MissKurdistan, let your personality be #MissKurdistan, let your noble deeds speak #MissKurdsitan, let your positive influence scream #MissKurdistan and let your name shine #MissKurdistan … not your lips or hips.

Love from your

Nest in Kurdistan,



2 thoughts on “A letter to Miss Kurdistan

Add yours

  1. Such a beautiful and powerful letter, and yes, miss Kurdistan if you happen to take her words and represent us this way, we will support you side by side. The yunger generation is looking up to you. Make us proud 🙂


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