Angela Ponce makes history: 'I don't need to win Miss Universe. I only need to be here.'
MANILA, Philippines – She may have failed to make it to the Top 20 but the spotlight still blazed over Spain's Miss Universe bet Angela Ponce, the first transgender hopeful in the pageant's history.
The Miss Universe 2018 coronation program happened on Monday, December 17 (Manila time).
Angela, 27, is the first transgender constestant to participate in the pageant since it reversed a longstanding rule that only "naturally born" women may join. It's been a tough journey – she's had to battle naysayers and doubters, even within the pageant-loving community.
Spain did not make it to the Top 20 but got a special video tribute after the finalists made their opening statements.
The video traced Angela's struggles from childhood until she finally made it to Thailand, where the Miss Universe pageant was held. "I don't need to win Miss Universe. I only need to be here," she said in the video.
"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," she earlier told the Agence France-Presse in an interview, while gesturing to her head.
Angela walked the stage one last time after the video tribute as she was cheered on by an international pageant. – Rappler.com