Kylan Arianna Wenzel To Be First Official Transgender Contestant of Miss Universe Organization

Illustration for article titled Kylan Arianna Wenzel To Be First Official Transgender Contestant of Miss Universe Organization

As recently as last year, the Miss Universe Organization disqualified a contestant—Miss Canada, Jenna Talakova—after they discovered she was transgender. When they finally changed their rules regarding the exclusion of LGBT contestants in April, Kylan Arianna Wentzel of Century City, California, was a shift manager at Jamba Juice saving up for her sex reassignment surgery. But when she heard the news, she worked her ass off and moved her surgery up six months in order to enter the competition, which takes place on Saturday.

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Wentzel says of her inspiring motivational skills:

"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. I wasn't sure how it would happen for me, but it was something I put out there. 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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'Transgender woman to compete in Miss California USA pageant' [LGBT Weekly]

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DISCUSSION

samantha-s-reckford
PirateGeisha

One thing I am curious about: GR surgery is often accompanied by extensive facial feminization surgeries, which I assume Miss Wentzel has had. If she moved the surgery date specifically to allow her to compete, we can assume that winning the title was on her mind throughout the process, and thus likely specifically asked for the standard beauty-queen look during the facial surgeries. Could this be considered cheating? Are the other contestants allowed to have nose jobs, jaw shaving etc.? Curious about whether or not there are guidelines in place. I truly believe that she is a woman through and through and no doubt possesses an abundance of natural beauty, but it does some odd to enter a beauty contest and be judged for a professionally constructed face, which was likely tailored to fit the beauty queen image ideal specifically.