Modelling agency Models Direct has been following the story of Jenna Talackova’s journey as a transgendered beauty pageant contestant over the last few weeks. During that time the determined model has become the subject of much controversy and media attention.
Talackova began hormone therapy at age 14 and went on to have sexual reassignment surgery just five years later. Aged 23, the transgendered model felt ready to compete in Miss Universe Canada and was open regarding her past as she took steps to become a contestant. Talackova was originally denied entry to the competition, on the grounds that she wasn’t “naturally born female”, but she fought this decision and was eventually told that she would be allowed to compete after all.
During the highly publicised battle Talackova told ABC News: “I didn’t know that there would be this much controversy. I was just entering because, you know, I wanted to represent Canada. I think I’m a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I think I would have done the job.”
Last week Talackova became the first ever transgendered model to have competed in Miss Universe Canada. She appeared on stage in both the swimwear and evening gown categories and held her own amongst 61 other contestants as she was judged by a panel of 15. Today we have heard that Talackova made it into the final 12 but was unsuccessful in her bid to win the crown. However, she did become one of four contestants who were named Miss Congeniality at the event – an achievement that we’re sure she is very proud of.
Talackova’s high-profile attorney Gloria Allred told Associated Press following the event: “She’s still a winner as far as I’m concerned. She won a ‘herstoric’ civil rights victory and that, I think, is frankly more important than anything, any victory she would win, even representing Miss Canada.”
26-year-old Iranian Canadian Sahar Biniaz won first place at the pageant and will advance to the Miss Universe competition in December.