“We as Palestinians have such a rich culture and the Arab world, in general, has a lot to offer. I think it’s amazing to have the chance to represent that…and I don’t take it lightly,” is how Nadeen Ayoub, or Miss Palestine, describes her drive to compete in international pageantry and represent Palestine.
Crowned Miss Earth Water 2022 at only 24, Nadeen Ayoub made history as the first Palestinian woman to win a major international beauty pageant. Ayoub is not only a Palestinian beauty queen, she is a humanitarian and advocate passionate about women’s health and making a difference in her community. Ayoub shared pageantry for her is about “breaking stereotypes of Palestinians and Arabs in the media.” As a longtime health and fitness coach, she emphasized that her drive behind her work is to show that “Arab women are strong, have a lot to offer, are educated, and beautiful. And not just beautiful on the outside but we can teach the world about Palestinian culture and history.”
Ayoub grew up living between Palestine, the US, and Canada. Even though she moved around the world, her parent’s made sure to remain grounded in Palestine and proud of their heritage. Ayoub’s family roots span from Yafa and throughout the West Bank. As a teen, Ayoub had a determined spirit and completed certification programs in both fitness and nutrition all while she was in high school. After graduating with her BA in Literature and Psychology from Canada, Ayoub moved back to Palestine to work as a women’s fitness coach, nutrition counselor, and psychology teacher in the Palestinian West Bank.
It wasn’t until after Ayoub graduated from college that she made the decision to compete in beauty pageants. After being approached several times by recruiters, Ayoub competed in Miss Europe, where she was crowned in the top five. Following her European win, she was invited by scouts to apply to be Miss Palestine and compete in Miss Earth 2022. Ayoub made the decision to join the prestigious competition. She believed it was a unique opportunity to celebrate Palestine on an international platform.
Miss Earth is one of the four “big league” pageants, which also includes Miss Universe and Miss World. Ayoub is the first Palestinian woman to be chosen to compete in a major beauty competition since 2016. Uniquely, Miss Earth focuses on raising awareness about the environment (“beauty for a cause”), giving Ayoub the opportunity to speak out about environmental protection in Palestine, focusing on the endangered Palestinian gazelle. While competing in Miss Earth in the Philippines, Ayoub traveled to different islands to work with local environmental groups and community leaders.
Ayoub won through the support of her community. Palestinians from all over the world reached out to help her, including make-up artists, photographers, fashion designers, and more. Ayoub said that her historic win is not only for herself but “for all Palestinians in Palestine and the diaspora.”
Today, Ayoub is continuing her humanitarian and local work by starting a fundraiser to help children in need of medical aid for a hospital in Nablus. Based in Qatar, Ayoub regularly meets and speaks with groups of young Arab women to talk about their futures, overcoming challenges, and building confidence in achieving their goals. Ayoub remains deeply committed to the Palestinian art community, working with groups to promote Palestinian culture and uplift Palestinian creators. Ayoub shared that her “Palestinian heritage and community is what continues to ground her to be confident, proud, and to compete on a global stage.”