WHAT’S BEING CLAIMED:
- Miss Spain made history when she became the first transgender woman to compete for the crown in the just concluded Miss Universe pageant.
- Angela Ponce didn’t win the title but she said it was an honor to represent her country in the prestigious beauty competition.
- Miss Philippines Catriona Gray was crowned the 67th Miss Universe, with Miss South Africa and Miss Venezuela coming in second and third place, respectively.
Miss Spain broke barriers on Monday when she became the first transgender woman to compete in the 67th Miss Universe pageant. Angela Ponce, 27, beat 20 other candidates vying for the Miss Universe Spain title in June before competing in the international beauty contest.
With the help of a translator, Ponce told TODAY, “I never imagined (I would make it to Miss Universe) because I lived in a society where everyone said I couldn’t do that.”
“And I didn’t have the information to realize that my dream to be a woman could ever actually be realized,” she added.
The Spanish beauty didn’t win the crown and did not even make it to the final round but she said it was an honor to represent her country. The 67th Miss Universe pageant was held in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday.
Miss Philippines Catriona Gray, a 24-year-old model, was crowned Miss Universe, with Miss South Africa and Miss Venezuela coming in first runner-up and second runner-up, respectively. The Philippines had previously taken the crown in 2015, 1973 and 1969.
When Ponce was crowned Miss Universe Spain, she said, “If my going through all this contributes to the world moving a little step forward, then that’s a personal crown that will always accompany me.”
In 2012, Miss Universe pageant did not allow Jenna Talackova from Canada to compete for the crown because she was not a “naturally born” female. Talackova threatened legal action, and the organization — then owned by Donald Trump — relented and changed the rules to allow transgender women to compete, according to NBC.
Ponce said she faced constant discrimination as a model and was rejected from jobs because of her gender identity. She said her family embraced her identity and backed her decision to live openly as a woman.
“I always had the support of my family, and they’re my foundation so that my life could unfold. They saw to it that I did not have a traumatic childhood. They are my strength,” she told NBC’s TODAY.
Another milestone for the recent Miss Universe pageant was the all-female panel of judges.