Australia

Transgender model to compete in Miss Universe

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Angela Ponce from Spain will make history at this year's Miss Universe.

Twenty-six-year-old model Angela Ponce will be the first transgender woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant.

Ms Ponce beat 20 other contestants to claim the title of Miss Universe Spain last month, saying that winning was less important than changing attitudes towards transgender women.

The pageant only allowed transgender women to compete as contestants in 2012.

The first transgender woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant says she wants to inspire trans kids.
The first transgender woman to compete in the global Miss Universe pageant says she wants to inspire trans kids.
AAP

"I think that this is something that is going to create - regardless of the final - the end of an era and the start of something new, not only in the history of Miss Universe and beauty contests but in many countries' views of transgender women," she told AP news agency.

"There are many other countries where the law does not protect them so I think it is important that I say 'here I am' and that I form a part of the diversity of what it means to be a woman and that I have the same rights as all."

Ms Ponce said revealing her transgender status to people in the modelling industry resulted in her being rejected for fashion events and photo shoots.

She said her life motto is: “To be the best is not an option, is a must”.

Ms Ponce said while she had a supportive upbringing from a "loving family", she did not have any role models from the fashion world.

“My parents never had to go to school to demand any changes in attitudes, I did it myself,” she said.

One of those changes included alerting her school teachers to her preferred name.

"Whatever name appears in the roll call, you should call me Angela.”

The 1.77-metre model’s career gathered momentum when she won a provincial beauty award in 2015.

The date and location of this year’s Miss Universe pageant are yet to be announced.

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