A Muslim journalist has posed for Playboy magazine wearing a hijab – a first for the publication that until a year ago favored nude models.
Noor Tagouri, 22, appears in the October issue as part of the 2016 Renegades series, which celebrates creators who bend the rules of their respective trades.
Tagouri, a first-generation Libyan American from West Virginia, says she dreams of being the first hijab-wearing anchor on US commercial television.
She garnered attention online in 2012, when she posted a photo of herself at an ABC 7 News desk, with the caption: ‘The first hijab wearing news anchor on American television.’
The post went viral and became a campaign with the hashtag #LetNoorShine, which encouraged others to embrace their identities and pursue their dreams.
Tagouri, a University of Maryland graduate, recounted the campaign in a TED Talk in May last year. She now works at Newsy, a video news network.
‘As a badass activist with a passion for demanding change and asking the right questions, accompanied by beauty-ad-campaign looks, Tagouri forces us to ask ourselves why we have such a hard time wrapping our minds around a young woman who consciously covers her head and won’t take no for an answer,’ Playboy wrote in the feature.
In her Playboy photos, Tagouri wears black pants and white Converse sneakers, as well as a white t-shirt paired with a black leather jackets.
Tagouri has received backlash for her appearance in Playboy. Some people were shocked to see a Muslim woman in the magazine.
‘Do we really need to go down the route of associating with an institution based on the objectification of women in the name of challenging perceptions and celebrating female empowerment?’ asked blogger Nishaat Ismail, who also wears a hijab, on The Independent’s website.
‘Is this really how we reclaim our own narrative?’
Some critics took jabs at her online with the hashtag #hoejabi.
But Tagouri told Playboy she didn’t pay attention to the negative comments.
‘It’s just negative energy and unhealthy. I make sure to keep a great circle of people around me who keep me grounded,’ she said.
Whether it’s at work or at home, the people who have my best interest at heart voice their concerns and their critiques, and I work on them. Besides that, I just do the best I can to not worry about people who get upset because they don’t like something that I wear or say.’
Others, like Slate video producer and editor Aymann Ismail, celebrated Tagouri’s decision to pose in Playboy.
‘Far too often, Muslim women are being told how to dress and behave by groups who are neither women nor Muslim,’ Ismail wrote.
‘For Muslim women who choose the hijab, the outward presentation of their faith makes them vulnerable to both sides of an increasingly polarizing and politicized conversation about the rights of women.
‘That is why when someone like Noor Tagouri speaks out and treads new ground as an individual, she deserves the full support of the entire Muslim community.’
Other people in Playboy’s Renegades series include Baby Cobra comedian Ali Wong, novelist Paul Beatty and ballerina-turned-porn-star Stoya.