Angela Maria Ponce Camacho, who is the reigning Miss Spain became the first ever transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe pageant.
After the preliminary rounds on Sunday, the 27-year-old model said it was “an honor and pride” to be part of the history of the pageant.
“This is for you, for those who have no visibility, no voice, because we all deserve a world of respect, inclusion and freedom,” Ponce wrote on Instagram on Friday. “And today I am here, proudly representing my nation, all women and human rights.”
The record set by Angela comes after the Miss Universe organization was heavily criticized in 2012 after disqualifying a transgender woman, Jenna Talackova from the Miss Canada competition because she was not”naturally born” a woman.
After Talackova threatened legal action, the organization then owned by Donald Trump changed the rules to allow transgender contestants in its pageants.
“As long as she meets the standards of legal gender recognition requirements of Canada,which we understand that she does, Jenna Talackova is free to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant,” Trump attorney Michael Cohen said at the time.
“Nobody is capitulating . . . Like all the other contestants, [Talackova] is wished the best of luck by Mr. Trump.”
Talackova ultimately finished in the top 12 of the Miss Canada pageant and was one of four contestants awarded “Miss Congeniality.” But did not advance to the Miss Universe pageant that year.
Speaking on making history, Ponce, who is from Pilas in southern Spain, credited her family for supporting her.
“They’re my foundation so that my life could unfold,” Ponce told Today.com.”They saw to it that I did not have a traumatic childhood. They are my strength.”
The 2018 Miss Universe pageant was won by Miss Philippines, 24-year-old Catriona Gray.