• Miss Universe contestant Angela Ponce is representing Spain. (Getty Images)
Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, is not only the first trans contestant in the Miss Universe competition - she's the odds-on favourite to win.
By
Samuel Leighton-Dore

6 Dec 2018 - 10:56 AM  UPDATED 6 Dec 2018 - 10:57 AM

After campaigning to be allowed to compete, transgender beauty queen Angela Ponce is now one of the favourites to win next week's Miss Universe pageant.

It's a significant moment for the Miss Spain representative, particularly given the pageant's long history with US President Donald Trump at the helm.

In an interview with TIME, 27-year-old Ponce said: “I’m showing that trans women can be whatever they want to be: a teacher, a mother, a doctor, a politician and even Miss Universe.”

"More than a message to him, it would be a win for human rights," Miss Spain said.

"Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long."

She adds: “If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women.”

Ponce competed in the 2015 Miss World competition, before finding out that the organisation didn't allow transgender participants - a rule shared by Miss Universe. However, both organisations have since changed their stance.

“It wasn’t easy… I found out on the day of the competition that their rules didn’t allow a transgender woman to win. It crushed me," Ponce reflected.

“I had to go on and perform, and it felt horrible. But after I got to the Miss Universe final, Miss World changed their rules too. I changed the rules.”

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