26-Year-Old Transgender Woman Crowned Miss Intercontinental New Zealand
A transgender Filipino woman has made history after being the first to achieve the highly coveted title of Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020.
Arielle Keil, 26, who was born in Davao City, Philippines as a boy named Andrew, but grew up in Auckland, New Zealand, underwent gender reassignment surgery earlier this year.
The glamorous trailblazer, who is the first post-operative transgender contestant to compete in the Miss New Zealand beauty pageant, describes the concept as not being outdated but ‘actually badass’.
According to DailyPost, Arielle said:
The pageant was an amazing experience! It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time so to actually live out my dream has been amazing!
Arielle, who is studying for a fashion design bachelor’s degree, revealed coming out as a transgender woman was more ‘terrifying’ than telling people about being a gay man.
She explained that despite being aware that the way people view her would change, she decided to be openly transgender to avoid having any regrets in later life.
I’d already spent the formative years of my life as the wrong gender, I didn’t want to waste my twenties in the wrong body either. This way of thinking really helped me come out to my parents because I knew that whatever their reaction was, this was something I needed to do for myself.
The 26-year-old, who began transitioning in 2017, was initially kicked out by her family, who struggled to support her decision. When Arielle’s parents found out she was undergoing hormone treatment, they gave two choices – stop or leave home.
That night she packed everything she owned into a black rubbish bag and walked out.
Achieving the title of Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020 is not unprecedented when it comes to pageants around the globe
Ángela Maria Ponce Camacho became the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss Universe contest after claiming the title of Miss Spain in 2018.
Before that, one of Arielle’s hero’s Jenna Talackova, won a lengthy legal battle in 2012 which allowed her to compete in the Miss Canada pageant.