Transgender woman to compete in Miss California USA pageantTop Highlights, Breaking News Friday, January 11th, 2013
When she takes the stage Saturday in pursuit of the Miss California USA crown, Kylan Arianna Wenzel will be the first transgender woman to compete in a Miss Universe Organization pageant since officials disqualified 23-year-old Miss Canada Jenna Talackova last year after learning she was transgender.
Following the Miss Universe Organization’s announcement of their rule change allowing trans women to compete for any of their pageant titles 26-year-old Wenzel of Century City left her job as a shift manager at Jamba Juice, moved her sex reassignment surgery up six months and entered the Miss California beauty pageant.
“The first time I watched a beauty pageant was when I was 11, in 1997, when Miss USA won Miss Universe. And ever since then, it’s kind of been implanted in my brain,” Wenzel told Frontiers during a Jan. 3 phone interview. “I wasn’t sure how it would happen for me, but it was something I put out there.”
Wenzel continued, “You have to put it out to the universe—what you want to do—and you have to follow up on it. So, let’s say for transgender individuals, even if you haven’t had your sex change and you’re not sure, you have to act like you are Miss Universe or you are the woman you see yourself being. And you do that in everyday life. So I just worked really hard. I saved for surgery. I started getting procedures early like laser hair removal—things like that. It really is about believing in yourself. But you also need people to believe in you, because you can’t really get that far, sometimes, when you don’t have that kind of support.”
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