The first ever transgender contestant to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant has lost her bid to win the title after strutting the runway this weekend.
Jenna Talackova competed against 61 other contestants and made it to the penultimate round along with 11 others, before losing out to 26-year-old Sahar Biniaz.
It is not only her long blonde hair and height of 6ft 1inches that is attracting international media attention. Talackova was originally disqualified from the event because she underwent gender reassignment surgery four years ago, and was deemed by organisers not to be a ‘naturally born female’.
Head of the Miss Universe Organization, Donald Trump, subsequently overturned the decision and allowed her to take part.
Talackova has spoken out about her experience, saying she knew early on she was in the wrong body. She has previously taken part in beauty pageants in Thailand, exclusively for trans women.
Speaking before the pageant, she said: ‘I’ve always watched Miss Universe since I was young and I’ve always dreamt of being in it, so I’m happy that I’m living my dream, finally. I know I’m a woman.’
Despite not winning the competition, Talackova has made an impact on the way beauty pageants are run. Miss Universe publicity director Brenda Mendoza has said transgender competitors are now welcome at all of its pageants around the world.
The winner of Miss Universe Canada now goes forward to the international Miss Universe competition, which is being held in December.