When Ginella Massa, a Toronto-based TV reporter, recently accepted a request to host an evening newscast, she was not planning or expecting to make history for wearing a hijab. She was just covering for a colleague who wanted to go to a hockey game.
And that’s how Ms. Massa, who works at CityNews in Toronto, became the first Canadian woman to host a newscast from a large media company while wearing the head scarf. Her newscast, broadcast on Nov. 17, became the subject of social media celebration, and news sites around the world heralded her.
“It’s been a little insane the last two weeks,” Ms. Massa, 29, said in an interview. “My phone hasn’t stopped ringing. I’m still working, so I’m trying to field calls and messages and everything in between.”
Ms. Massa’s newscast was one of a string of recent stories about young hijab-wearing women, or hijabis, who have pushed boundaries by strolling into spaces where the standards of appearance tend to be restrictive. Nura Afia, a 24-year-old from Colorado, was hired as a CoverGirl makeup ambassador. And Halima Aden, a 19-year-old from Minnesota, was a contestant in a beauty pageant. Ms. Aden sported a hijab and, during the swimwear portion of the competition, a burkini.
“All my relatives in Somalia are like, ‘We don’t know what pageants are,’ ” Ms. Aden told NPR, “ ‘but congratulations.’ ”