Breaking boundaries. Muslim journalist Noor Tagouri posed in a hijab for the October issue of Playboy — a bold move for the men’s magazine nearly a year after they stopped publishing nude photos.
The 22-year-old Libyan American appears in the latest issue of the publication as part of their 2016 Renegades series, which highlights individuals who don’t stick to the status quo of their respective fields.
In the photo, Tagouri is covered head to toe in a conservative ensemble — black pants, a white T-shirt, leather jacket, Converse sneakers and, of course, her traditional headpiece — as she sits on a step stool in front of an American flag mural.
“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,” reads an excerpt from the shoot’s accompanying feature.
While many applauded her decision to participate in Playboy’s latest issue, Tagouri has been hit with some harsh social media backlash as well.
“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 Muslim blogger Nishaat Ismail — who also wears a hijab — in an op-ed for The Independent. “Is this really how we reclaim our own narrative?”
Some critics went as far as to call Tagouri a #hoejabi on Twitter and Instagram. However, the aspiring TV anchor doesn’t pay attention to cruel 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 explained to Playboy. “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.”
The West Virginia native first gained national attention in 2012 when she shared a snap of herself sitting at an ABC 7 news desk proudly sporting her hijab. “The first hijab wearing news anchor on American television,” she captioned the Instagram pic.
After the post went viral, a hashtag campaign #LetNoorShine ensued, and the young newsmaker was asked to lead a TED talk last May in which she spoke about the importance of celebrating others’ differences and unique cultures. After graduating from the University of Maryland in 2014, Tagouri landed a job at Newsy, a news video network.