Most Shared

11 reasons to love Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympian to compete in a hijab.

She loves Ellen DeGeneres, she's got Ramadan jokes, and she's making history for Team USA.

11 reasons to love Ibtihaj Muhammad, the first U.S. Olympian to compete in a hijab.

Meet Ibtihaj Muhammad, an American Olympian making history in Rio de Janeiro this summer.

She's a fencer, and she's damn good at it.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.


Muhammad, a proud black Muslim from New Jersey, is the first athlete to compete on Team USA while wearing a hijab.

That's right: Before Muhammad, no American Olympiannone! — has rocked a hijab while reppin' the red, white, and blue. This fact, in and of itself, makes her pretty cool. But that's hardly the half of it.

Here are nine reasons to justify your love for Muhammad while she's killing it in Brazil:

1. Muhammad runs with the coolest squad in Rio.

And she's not afraid to flaunt it (just a little bit).

2. She totally schooled Stephen Colbert in fencing on national television and has zero regrets about it.

Who else can say they did that?

3. She loves wearing the hijab because it's a big part of who she is.

"The hijab is very much a part of who I am and definitely helps me in my relationship with God and with my own spirituality," she explained to the BBC. "It is a personal choice and a personal relationship you have with God."

Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Time.

"Wearing the hijab is a reminder to myself, in a society that is not predominantly Muslim, of being aware of your own religion. Being in sport, it is part of my journey and as an individual, the hijab has always felt right for me. ... It is not forced upon women, especially in the U.S., and is a conscious decision that I am making."

4. She will speak out about politics — because rhetoric from powerful people has real-life consequences.

“I think his words are very dangerous,” she told CNN of GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump's anti-Muslim platform. “When these types of comments are made, no one thinks about how they really affect people. I’m African-American. I don’t have another home to go to. My family was born here. I was born here. I’ve grown up in Jersey. All my family’s from Jersey. It’s like, well, where do we go?”

5. She's happy to be a trailblazing role model — not just for little girls, but for little boys, too.

"While so many boys find inspiration in sports from men, I'm happy to know my nephew has my sister Faizah and I to look up to," she wrote on Facebook after qualifying for the Olympics. "I wanted to qualify not just for myself, but for him."

After stepping off the podium in February and realizing my life long dream of qualifying for the United States Olympic...

Posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad on Wednesday, May 25, 2016

6. She's cool enough to meet the president (who also knows a thing or two about making history, mind you).

7. She's never let the haters hold her back, and she's not about to start now.

“I just remember being ostracized and being told that there were things that I couldn’t do because I was black, or there were things I couldn’t do because I was Muslim, or there were limitations because I was a girl," she said. "Throughout my entire life I feel like I've tried to combat these stereotypes."

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

8. Muhammad wins extra points for being just as infatuated with Ellen DeGeneres as the rest of us.

"I am so obsessed with you," she said on Ellen's show in June. "I'm so excited to be here. You're such a role model."

Catch me on the Ellen DeGeneres Show today 3:00PM EST on NBC!! (check your local listings)

Posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad on Monday, June 13, 2016

9. She's got Ramadan jokes.

And not every Olympic fencer has Ramadan jokes.

(Yeah, I'd be tired, too, if I had to be on my A-game during a religious holiday where fasting all day is required.)

10. Muhammad's mom got her into fencing for the most practical of reasons: the uniform.

Other sports required Muhammad to wear specially tailored uniforms that would cover her head, legs, and arms. As a kid, Muhammad did not enjoy sticking out among her teammates, who wore shorts, T-shirts, or leotards.

So fencing, with its high-coverage uniform, seemed like the answer.

Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Image.

"My mom just so happened to discover fencing," Muhammad told CNN. "She was driving past a local high school and saw kids with what she thought was like, a helmet and like, long pants and long jacket. She was like, 'I don't know what it is, but I want you to try it.'"

11. She has many stereotype-busting friends as well, and she loves giving them shoutouts.

"These are the top fencers in United States and among the best in the world," she captioned a photo of herself and other black fencers during Black History Month. "I'm thankful for my United States teammates who continue to make strides in the sport of fencing, not only for themselves, but for all of us who have ever been judged for the color of our skin."

It's Black History Month and I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge the growing history a few us are living everyday....

Posted by Ibtihaj Muhammad on Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Every athlete in Rio deserves our praise, no doubt.

But when a history-making athlete overcomes racism, religious bigotry, and sexism to make it onto that Olympic stage in a sport where few people share a story similar to hers?

That sort of perseverance is exactly what being on Team USA is all about.

Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images.

Photo by Louis Hansel on Unsplash
True

This story was originally shared on Capital One.

Inside the walls of her kitchen at her childhood home in Guatemala, Evelyn Klohr, the founder of a Washington, D.C.-area bakery called Kakeshionista, was taught a lesson that remains central to her business operations today.

"Baking cakes gave me the confidence to believe in my own brand and now I put my heart into giving my customers something they'll enjoy eating," Klohr said.

While driven to launch her own baking business, pursuing a dream in the culinary arts was economically challenging for Klohr. In the United States, culinary schools can open doors to future careers, but the cost of entry can be upwards of $36,000 a year.

Through a friend, Klohr learned about La Cocina VA, a nonprofit dedicated to providing job training and entrepreneurship development services at a training facility in the Washington, D.C-area.

La Cocina VA's, which translates to "the kitchen" in Spanish, offers its Bilingual Culinary Training program to prepare low-and moderate-income individuals from diverse backgrounds to launch careers in the food industry.

That program gave Klohr the ability to fully immerse herself in the baking industry within a professional kitchen facility and receive training in an array of subjects including culinary skills, food safety, career development and English language classes.

Keep Reading Show less
via Gage Skidmore/Flickr and Terry Morgan/Flickr

Senator Ted Cruz and a kangaroo.

Conservative media in the United States has painted Australia as a state on the brink of authoritarianism due to strict COVID-19 protections in some parts of the country. These news outlets appear to be using the country as an example of what can happen in America if liberal politicians go unchecked.

Fox News' Tucker Carlson ran a story on Australia earlier this month claiming the country "looks a lot like China did at the beginning of the pandemic." He ended it by saying that "what's happening in Australia might be instructive to us in the United States" and that things can "change very quickly" and become "dystopian and autocratic."

Carlson provides zero reasons why Americans should be fearful of becoming an autocratic country due to COVID-19, beyond the idea that "things can change very quickly" so his appeals sound a lot more like fear-mongering than genuine concern.

Keep Reading Show less
True

When a pet is admitted to a shelter it can be a traumatizing experience. Many are afraid of their new surroundings and are far from comfortable showing off their unique personalities. The problem is that's when many of them have their photos taken to appear in online searches.

Chewy, the pet retailer who has dedicated themselves to supporting shelters and rescues throughout the country, recognized the important work of a couple in Tampa, FL who have been taking professional photos of shelter pets to help get them adopted.

"If it's a photo of a scared animal, most people, subconsciously or even consciously, are going to skip over it," pet photographer Adam Goldberg says. "They can't visualize that dog in their home."

Adam realized the importance of quality shelter photos while working as a social media specialist for the Humane Society of Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"The photos were taken top-down so you couldn't see the size of the pet, and the flash would create these red eyes," he recalls. "Sometimes [volunteers] would shoot the photos through the chain-link fences."

That's why Adam and his wife, Mary, have spent much of their free time over the past five years photographing over 1,200 shelter animals to show off their unique personalities to potential adoptive families. The Goldbergs' wonderful work was recently profiled by Chewy in the video above entitled, "A Day in the Life of a Shelter Pet Photographer."