Angela Ponce will make history when she becomes the first transgender contestant to compete at the Miss Universe competition.
Ms Ponce, 26, from Seville, will be representing her country at the global competition in the Philippines in December after beating 22 other contestants for the Miss Spain crown.
“Bringing the name and colours of Spain before the universe is my great dream,” she wrote on Instagram after she won.
“My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity not only for the LGBTQ+ community, but also for the entire world.”
Transgender women were barred from competing in Miss Universe up until five years ago. In 2012, Canada’s Jenna Talackova was barred from competing because she was transgender, but with the help of women’s rights lawyer Gloria Allred, she legally challenged the rule and got it overturned.
Ms Talackova later made it to the top 12, and was one of the four contestants to be named Miss Congeniality.
Ms Ponce competed on the Miss World Spain stage in 2015 after completing her transition in 2014 but lost to Miss Barcelona Mireia Lalaguna.
“Bringing the name and colours of Spain before the universe is my great dream. My goal is to be a spokesperson for a message of inclusion, respect and diversity not only for the LGBT community, but also for the entire world.” 💕🏳️🌈👏🏼
— Angela Ponce-Official🇪🇸🏳️🌈 (@angelaponceoff) July 7, 2018
“Society is not educated for diversity, it’s what made me go public, I mean, here I am and I’m not weird,” she told Spanish newspaper 20 Minutos at the time.
“I just have a different story, a woman who came to life differently but I’m a woman.”
Chinese-Australian model Francesca Hung recently won the crown at the 2018 Miss Universe Australia competition.
“I used to see former Miss Universes like Jesinta Franklin, Rachael Finch and Jennifer Hawkins and see them as the typical Australian girl,” Ms Hung told news.com.au.
“I never thought that could be me … I hope this is an opportunity to show people if you look or feel different, you are a true representation of the Australian culture.
“What set me apart was my cultural background, and a bit different for (the) Miss Universe competition.”