In a glitzy pageant held Friday night at August Auditorium in the port city of Tarragona, 25-year-old Angela Ponce made history for being the first transgender woman to win Spain’s biggest beauty contest.
Ponce, who will represent her country in the 67th edition of Miss Universe later this year, bested 22 other finalists in a television event telecast live by forty-two regional television stations.
Crowned by last year’s winner Sofía del Prado, Ponce represented the city of Seville, the capital and largest city of the autonomous community of Andalusia, where Spain’s first and only Miss Universe winner, Amparo Muñoz (1974), came from.
In 2015, Ponce made headlines when she competed in Spain’s Miss World beauty pageant but lost out to an actress and model from Barcelona.
Ponce is a model who at the same time works at her parents’ restaurant. It was at age 11 when she began to investigate and discover transsexuality and completed her transition, after years of hormone therapy, through a gender reassignment in 2014.
In an interview prior to the Miss Spain pageant, Ponce said that she was three years old when she knew she was a woman. But her hardest moments took place during her adolescence when she had to convince a psychologist that she was who she was.
“The bottom line is that my family supported me when I was little. My father sat with me as I played with my dolls,” she said.
In a separate interview when she joined Miss World Spain, Ponce said she wasn’t bullied at school for acting differently but underscored that misunderstanding was rife and she now wants to help educate young people as, “people do not know what transsexuality is, they still confuse it with transvestism.”
Ponce’s story can be likened to Jenna Talackova who forced Donald Trump, former Miss Universe Organization president, and his Miss Universe Canada pageant to end its ban on transgender contestants. Talackova was allowed to join the national pageant but failed to advance in the finals.
In 2012, the Miss Universe Organization allowed transgender contestants to compete in the international pageant.