Jenna Talackova (above) didn’t take the crown at the Miss Universe Canada contest yesterday, but the 6’2″ looker emerged a champion nonetheless: As the first openly transgender competitor in pageant history, she helped change the rules of the Miss Universe Organization.
“If you are legally recognized in your country and you’ve had your surgery and been through everything, you’d be able to compete in your country’s pageant,” said Paula Shugar, president of the organization. But Shugar admits that won’t be any help in countries that don’t provide legal recognition of a trans woman’s change in gender.
Wearing a white bikini and blinged-out heels, Talackova sashayed into the top 12 but was eliminated after the evening-gown segment. Sahar Biniaz, 26, won the competition, reports the Toronto Star, but Talackova was in a four-way tie for Miss Congeniality.