Representing Spain, model and trans rights activist Angela Ponce Camacho, 27, is the most controversial candidate of Miss Universe 2018. She is aiming to become the first ever trans woman to win the international beauty pageant.
Ponce was born male on January 18, 1991 in Pilas, Seville, Spain to restaurateurs Eustaquio Ponce Moreno and Maria Jose Camacho Notario. Angela has a sister named Amanda Ponce Camacho, 19, a law student, and an elder brother who manages their family-owned bar in Pilas.
Unlike other members of the LGBTQ community, Angela was raised in a family that never questioned her identity since she was a child. Her parents allowed her to play with Barbie dolls instead of encouraging her to play with her brother’s toy cars and football.
In school, it was Angela who would explain her situation to every new teacher. Her parents never had to go to her school to appeal for the appropriate treatment of their daughter.
“I did it myself,” Angela told Associated Press. “Whatever name appears in the roll call, you should call me Angela.”
In 2007, Angela underwent hormonal treatment. She had her vaginal plastic surgery in 2014.
Once a year, Angela spends her vacation in Cadiz, which she represented in Miss World Spain 2015. Having won the Miss World Cadiz 2015, she joined Miss World Spain 2015 where she was unplaced.
On June 29, 2018, Ponce represented Seville in Miss Universe Spain 2018 at the August Auditorium of Palau Firal i de Congressos de Tarragona in Tarragona, Spain and won the title. It made her the first ever trans woman to compete in Miss Universe in the international level.
Angela, who is 5’11, started modelling when she was 18 years old. She was represented by several modelling agencies including Stars Model Agency, Apple Model, Maroe Management and Salvador Models and Actors and has graced the covers of Sevilla and Vogue Spain.
“The fashion industry likes to talk about freedom and creativity,” Angela told Time. “But many times, I’ve gone to a casting and they’ve given me the job and then later, my agency calls and says they’ve changed their minds because they’ve found out I’m a trans woman. I would just burst into tears.”
A trans rights activist, Angela supports Fundacion Daniela, a non-profit organization that aims to end the discrimination suffered by transsexual children and adolescents. It was established by a Spanish woman who lost her daughter whose school refused to recognize her as a transgender girl.
For Angela, winning Miss Universe 2018 would be a victory for human rights more than a message to Donald Trump who has threatened trans rights since becoming the President of the United States Donald Trump. The latter is the former owner of Miss Universe who did not allow transgender candidates until 2012.
The model and trans rights activist noted that for the longest time, trans women have been persecuted and erased. She said if she wins the Miss Universe 2018 crown, it will show the world that trans women are just as much women as natural-born women.
On December 17, 2018, Angela and 93 other women from all over the world will take it to the Miss Universe 2018 stage at Impact, Muang Thong Thani in Bangkok, Thailand and compete for the position as the successor of Miss Universe 2017 Demi-Leigh Nel-Peters of South Africa. Meanwhile, here is an interview with Angela in Spanish: