Sarah Idan made history after being announced as Miss Iraq 2017. She became the first Iraqi woman in 45 years to represent her nation at Miss Universe 2017. What she did not know was the amount of controversy that this would generate and the lengths of the outrage from her compatriots towards her.
Iraq's return The Miss Iraq pageant was held again back in 2015 after Saddam Hussain's collapse. No event of such magnitude was allowed during Hussain's era. Even though Shimaa Qasim was elected Miss Iraq 2015, she withdrew from the Miss Universe competition in 2016 due to personal reasons. Conservatives in Iraq were not happy with the decision to elect another Iraqi beauty queen and much less to have her participate in an international pageant. Despite this, Idan was elected Miss Iraq 2017 and marked Iraq's first return to the Miss Universe competition since 1972. Idan then started an arduous preparation for her participation.
The threats Idan's parents and tribe belong to one of the most conservative regions of Iraq. Her preliminary performance, where she strutted down the catwalk in a bikini, angered the rest of their relatives, who in result attacked Idan and her family with death threats. The threats forced her family to leave Baghdad temporarily, as declared by Saman Salman, the head of communication of the Miss Iraq Pageant. However, this situation has not discouraged them, and they continue to support Idan and encourage her to keep focused on the Miss Universe pageant to win the competition. Sarah's determination Music is one of Idan's greatest passions. She claims that songwriting has helped her survive during her country's difficult times. It is her goal to become to become a musician following her reign in case she wins the international beauty pageant.
In 2019, she started an organization called Humanity Forward. The organization is beginning by creating channels on YouTube to discuss politics, religion and history in Arabic.