Miss Spain Angela Ponce is 27 years old and she comes from Seville. She is also the first ever transgender woman to participate in the Miss Universe Pageant. ABC Net has reported that if Ponce wins Miss Universe, she wants to “spread tolerance and respect towards oneself and others globally”. The Miss Universe Pageant reportedly barred trans women from participating in the event in previous years. AL.com reported that the Miss Universe Organization changed its policy in 2012 that allowed pageant participation solely for “naturally born” women.
According to Telegraph, Ponce wishes to put out a strong message, aimed at President Donald Trump, as he is the former owner of Miss Universe, in addition to others who may judge based on physical appearance. Ponce said she wants to promote transgender rights, and raise awareness about inclusivity, tolerance and diversity. Ponce stated, “I always say: Having a vagina didn’t transform me into a woman. I am a woman, already before birth, because my identity is here.”
In Miss Spain’s Miss Universe bio, it describes her and her mission as this, “Angela Ponce has dedicate her efforts towards the empowerment of young women and families to be proud of who they are. She campaigns to promote gender diversity and equality. Angela is also the first transgender woman ever to be crowned Miss Universe Spain. If she takes home the crown, she wants to want to spread tolerance and respect towards oneself and others globally. Angela is looking forward to making her country proud at this year’s Miss Universe competition.”
In an interview with the Today Show, Ponce said she has wanted to be in pageantry since she was just a young child, but she didn’t know if that would be possible. Ponce said, “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.”
Ahead of the 2018 Miss Universe Pageant, Ponce wrote about the honor of being a contestant on her Instagram account. Ponce wrote, “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.”
The English translation of this is, “What an honor and pride to be part of the history of @missuniverse. This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom. And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”
Ponce joins 93 other contestants, competing for the title of Miss Universe 2018 in Bangkok, Thailand. Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa will relinquish her crown to just one contender. Ponce has been picked by many pageant websites as a front-runner, so she should at least destined to make it into the top 20.