Friday, January 11, 2013

Meet Kylan, The First Ever Trans Miss California USA Pageant Contestant

Remember when I wrote the post last week stating that we not get our hopes up of seeing a trans contestant in a state level Miss USA system pageant, Miss USA or Miss Universe this year?  

Scratch that.  

The 2013 Miss California USA pageant starts its preliminary competition tomorrow, and one of the 229 women competing in this year's edition of the pageant at the Pasadena Convention center will be a girl like us.

When 26 year old Kylan Arianna Wenzel of Century City, CA noted that transwomen were now eligible to compete in the Miss Universe pageant system thanks to Jenna Talackova breaking that pageant glass ceiling in Canada, Kylan decided to go for her long held dream of being a pageant contestant confidently attempting to win the trifecta of Miss California USA, Miss USA and Miss Universe . 

She left her job as a Jamba Juice shift manager and moved up her surgery date six months to have it in August 2012 in order to compete in this year's event.

“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 January 3 phone interview. “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,” Wenzel continued. “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.”

Wenzel's already made some trans history by being the first out transperson to enter a state level pageant anywhere in the United States and the first trans Miss California USA contestant.  

Her attempt to win Miss California USA starts in tomorrow's preliminary round in which the 229 contestants will be whittled down to the 20 semifinalists who will compete in the Pasadena Convention Center on Sunday, January 13 starting at 4 PM PST.  

If she does emerge victorious, we'll get to see her attempt to make more pageant history in June when she will represent California at the Miss USA pageant.

But first things first.   Good luck this weekend, Kylan! 

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