Angela Ponce didn’t walk away with the crown during last night’s Miss Universe pageant (Dec. 16), but she did end up being a winner in her own right. Ponce, who represented her country of Spain, is the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe pageant.
“This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom,” the model wrote on Instagram Friday (Dec. 14). “And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.” Catriona Gray, the 24-year-old Miss Philippines, walked away with the crown over models from South Africa and Venezuela, who came in second and third.
Ponce, 27, was crowned Miss Spain back in June, beating out 22 contestants for the win. At the time of that win, she told The Associated Press, “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.”
The pageant, formerly owned by Donald Trump, lifted its ban on transgender contestants in 2012. This is the same year that Jenna Talackova of Canada threatened legal action against the organization, who was rejected because she was not a “naturally born” female.
Congrats on making history, Miss Spain.
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Que honor y orgullo poder ser parte de la historia de @missuniverse. Esto es por ustedes, por aquellos que no tienen visibilidad, ni voz, porque todos merecemos un mundo de respeto, inclusión y libertad. Y hoy estoy aquí, representando con orgullo a mi nación, a todas las mujeres y a los derechos humanos. • #missuniverse #missuniverso #confidentlybeautiful #thailand #bangkok #roadtomissuniverse #67thmissuniverse #angelaponce #spain #preliminar