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Noor Tagouri Playboy Shoot: Muslim Journalist Becomes First Woman In Hijab To Feature In Men's Magazine

'A bad-ass activist with a passion for demanding change'

28/09/2016 10:42 | Updated 28 September 2016

A journalist is smashing stereotypes by becoming the first Muslim to appear in Playboy wearing a hijab in the 63-year history of the magazine.

Noor Tagouri will feature in the October Renegades issue – part of a series which promises to “change how you think about business, music, porn, comedy, gaming and more.

“They’ve risked it all – even their lives – to do what they love, showing us what can be accomplished if we break the rules,” the magazine adds. 

A photo posted by Noor Tagouri (@ntagouri) on

Touted as a “bad-ass activist with a passion for demanding change and asking the right questions,” the Newsy anchor told the magazine her goal is to become the first hijabi news presenter on commercial TV in America.

A first generation Libyan American, born in West Virginia, Tagouri is on a mission to trailblaze new paths as a head-scarf wearing women in media.

Rather than hindering her, she reveals that being a hijabi Muslim woman has helped her gain trust in her job because: “I know what it’s like to have the narrative of our community be skewed and exploited in the media. I was like, ‘Hey, I know what it’s like to be misrepresented in the media. I won’t do that to you. I want to tell your story because it’s important and deserves justice.’”

She also speaks of meeting a mother who told her that her 6th grade daughter had just started wearing the hijab and was being teased and put down because of her decision.

Tagouri continued: “She went on to tell me that her daughter watches all of my videos and every time she gets picked on, she pulls up my Instagram or tells them to ‘Google Noor Tagouri and then talk to me’. Those are the moments that it hits me. And I always remember Maya Angelou’s quote: ‘I come as one, but I stand as 10,000.’”

Ilya S. Savenok via Getty Images
Noor Tagouri features in the October issue of Playboy 

In a blog for Huffington Post UK, journalist Khadija Ahmed points out Tagouri’s story is the most positive piece she’s read about someone in a hijab since the controversial Burkini ban in France.

Ahmed added: “What Noor has done by allowing Playboy to publish her interview is she is making a wider point by being her actual self; A Muslim hijabi journalist, nothing to do with nudity or objectification.”

For as much as Tagouri has been praised as “bold”, “brave” and “literally going where no hijabi has gone before”, predictably there has been a backlash.

Twitter user @neemsayee said: “I’m not upset over Noor Tagouri’s interview or the purpose of what she did. I’m upset with the platform she chose – Playboy.”

Asisha Muhammad appeared to echo this, tweeting: “So, I just read Noor Tagouri’s interview with Playboy and while it made a whole lot of sense, I really wish it didn’t have to be with Playboy.”

Writing for The Muslim Vibe, Salim Kassam said: “Personally, I think her decision to feature in Playboy was ill-advised. Playboy is synonymous with pornography.

“It has been at the forefront of the objectification, sexualisation and commodification of women for decades and just because they’ve softened their image, it doesn’t mean we can begin to engage with the platform and jump on board. You could be writing or talking about the virtues of our beloved Prophet but the ends simply don’t justify the means in my opinion.”

For her part, Tagouri maintains she is “honoured” to have featured in the magazine and recently tweeted a message of support from her mother which read: “May the force be with you. You are a trailblazer and will get burned along the way cause fire can be fierce, but heal the wounds and keep your head high and no looking back.” 

Head over to Playboy’s website to read the interview in its entirety.

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