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Entries in Miss Universe (9)

Sunday
May202012

Jenna Talackova: Transgender Beauty Queen Places in Top 12

Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Jenna Talackova, the transgender Canadian beauty queen, placed in the top 12 at the Miss Universe Canada pageant, but fell short of the crown.

The 6-foot-1 blonde bombshell was a crowd favorite as she strutted down the runway in the evening gown and swimwear portions of the competition.

Talackova also seemed to be a favorite among her fellow contestants and was one of four women voted “Miss Congeniality.”

The 23 year old was originally disqualified from the competition because she was not a “naturally born female.”

After threats of a lawsuit and public outcry, the Trump Organization, which owns the contest, announced Talackova would be allowed to compete.

“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,” Talckova told ABC News’ Barbara Walters during her fight to be reinstated into the competition.

The beauty queen, who was born Walter Talackova, has not tried to hide her past.

In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she stated that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.

“Because I’m a woman, and I feel like the universe, the Creator just put me in this position as an advocate,” she said. ” If it’s helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Apr062012

Transgender Beauty Queen: ‘I Always Knew … I Was in the Wrong Body’

ABC/Heidi Gutman(NEW YORK) -- Jenna Talackova, the transgender woman who was temporarily disqualified from a Canadian beauty pageant, said that even as a child she knew she was “in the wrong body.”

“As soon as I was conscious, I just always knew that I was not what they were saying.  It wasn’t right,” Talackova told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an exclusive interview.  “I thought that I was in the wrong body.”

Talackova went from local beauty queen to a headline-grabbing transgender rights activist in the span of just a few weeks after the Ms. Universe Canada pageant informed her that she would be disqualified from the competition because she was not a “naturally born female.”

Representatives for Donald Trump, whose company owns the Ms. Universe pageants, said earlier this week that he would reverse the decision to disqualify Talackova and that she would be allowed to compete in the pageant.

Shortly thereafter, Talackova’s lawyer, Gloria Allred, criticized Trump for having the “natural born female” rule at all.

The Trump organization later released a statement saying that pageant rules had “been modernized to ensure this type of issue does not occur again.”

Talackova, who was born with the name Walter Talackova, had gender reassignment surgery at the age of 19 and also had hormone treatments.  She called the surgery “intense” but ultimately “rewarding.”

“It was terribly painful, but seeing something on your body for that long and not being able to look at myself in the mirror because I couldn’t stand seeing the other part, it was actually very rewarding, too,” she said.

Talackova said she’s now committed to helping others.

“I feel like the universe, the creator just put me in this position as an advocate,” she said.  “And now it’s like this, and I’ll take that position.   If it’s helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.”

Watch Barbara Walters’ exclusive interview with Talackova and her mother, Myrtle Perry, Friday night on 20/20 at 10 p.m. ET.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Apr042012

Donald Trump Has Words for Transgender Miss Universe Contestant

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Donald Trump fired back at Jenna Talackova, the Canadian transsexual beauty queen who has mired his Miss Universe pageant admist her controversy.

“I think Jenna should focus on running up in Canada and seeing how she does in Canada and then, if she does well, she has a chance to become what many, many young women all over the world want to be and that’s Miss Universe,” Trump, whose company owns the Miss Universe and Miss USA pageants, said Wednesday on ABC’s Good Morning America.  “That should be her focus.”

Talackova, 23, was selected as one of 65 finalists in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition but was disqualified Friday because she was not a “naturally born female.”  The Vancouver-born Talackova was born a male, but had sexual reassignment surgery at age 19.

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The disqualification drew worldwide headlines days after. The Trump organization Monday said it would not attempt to keep Talackova out of the competition.

“The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions,” Michael D. Cohen, Trump’s executive vice president and special counsel, said in an email statement announcing the change.

But the change was not enough for Talackova and her attorney, Gloria Allred, who called the statement “confusing” in a high-profile news conference Tuesday in New York.  Talackova wants pageant organizers to go further and drop eligibility rules she calls discriminatory.

“Mr. Trump, admit that you are wrong and get rid of your Trumped-up rule,” Allred said during the news conference.

“I did not know that she had a lawyer and especially Gloria Allred,” Trump said Wednesday.   “In fact, had I known it was Gloria Allred, I probably would not have reversed my decision because, you know, Gloria is easy to beat.”

“The fact is we went by the laws of the country and the laws are very clear and, based on that, about two days ago, we decided to let her compete,” he said of his organization’s decision.

The winner of the Miss Universe Canada title, who will be crowned May 19 in Toronto, will go on to represent Canada in the Miss Universe Pageant later in the year.

Because the international nature of the pageant means future transgender contestants would have to abide by laws in their respective countries, Trump acknowledged the organization might have to, in the future, cede to Talackova and Allred’s calls for a blanket policy that would supersede all laws.

Talackova and Allred avoided questions during Tuesday’s news conference of whether she will compete if the rule is not eliminated before this year’s Miss Universe Canada pageant.

The beauty queen has not tried to hide her past. In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender-transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she stated that she began hormone therapy to become a female at age 14.

“We’re going by the laws of Canada and the laws of the United States and they’re really very clear,” Trump said.  “I hope she does well.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Apr032012

Transsexual Canadian Beauty Queen Asks Trump to Eliminate Miss Universe Rule

FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images(LOS ANGELES) -- Jenna Talackova, the Canadian transsexual beauty queen, is asking that Donald Trump eliminate the rule that Miss Universe contestants must be naturally born females.

"I want Mr. Trump to state that this rule will be eliminated because I do not want any other woman to suffer from the discrimination that I have endured," Talackova said during a press conference Tuesday.

"I have never asked for special consideration. I only wanted to compete," Talackova said.

Talackova was originally disqualified from the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she was not a "naturally born female," according to Gloria Allred, Talackova's attorney. Talackova was born a male but had sexual reassignment surgery at age 19.

"Mr. Trump, admit that you are wrong and get rid of your Trumped-up rule," Allred said during the press conference.

"She [Jenna] did not think for one moment that what she looked like at birth would be relevant. She did not ask Mr. Trump to prove that he is a naturally born man," Allred said.

The Trump organization announced Monday that it will not attempt to keep Talackova out of the competition.

"The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions," Michael D. Cohen, Trump's executive vice president and special counsel, said in an email.

But this statement was not enough for Talackova and Allred, who called it "confusing."

"It isn't just about her being able to compete," Allred said. "It's about the elimination of the rule for others. Jenna is standing up for others, not just herself."

Trump's organization issued a statement saying, "Gloria Allred's statements to the press today pay no mind to the fact that Mr. Trump and the Miss Universe Organization made the fair and just decision in allowing Jenna to compete in the Miss Universe 2012 Canada pageant.

"Pageant rules have been modernized to ensure this type of issue does not occur again. Gloria's arguments were made moot by the decision rendered yesterday.... Like all the contestants, Mr. Trump wishes Jenna the best of luck in her quest for the crown."

Although Trump's original statement says that Talackova may compete, she and Allred avoided questions during the press conference of whether she will compete if the rule is not eliminated.

The blonde beauty's birth certificate, passport, and driver's license all reflect that she is a woman, Allred said during the press conference. They believe that should be enough for the competition.

The beauty queen has not tried to hide her past. In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she stated that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.

The crown for Miss Universe Canada will be awarded May 19 in Toronto.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Apr022012

Trump Won’t Bar Transsexual Beauty Queen from Shot at Miss Universe Canada Title

Mike Stobe/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Jenna Talackova, the Canadian beauty queen, won’t have to fight Donald Trump for a chance to compete for the Miss Universe Canada title after all, even though she was born a he.

Talackova is everything you think of when you hear the words “beauty queen.” With her bright smile, flowing blonde hair and viciously long legs, you can’t deny she’s stunning.

But Talackova, 23, was first disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition because she was born a male, according to CTV. Talackova was originally selected as one of 65 finalists for the Donald Trump-owned competition, and her profile and photos were pulled from the Miss Universe Canada website.

But the Trump organization has reversed its decision, announcing Monday that it won’t attempt to keep Talackova out of the contest.

“The Miss Universe Organization will allow Jenna Talackova to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant provided she meets the legal gender recognition requirements of Canada, and the standards established by other international competitions,” Michael D. Cohen, executive vice president and special counsel to Donald Trump, said in an email.

The Miss Universe Canada website states that to enter, women must be a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27. If basic requirements are met, they are asked to fill out a longer application form. The form does not mention any rules against sexual reassignment surgery.

Talackova and her attorney, Gloria Allred, had scheduled a news conference for Tuesday in Los Angeles to discuss “why Jenna should be permitted to compete and what action [Allred] plans to take in the United States on behalf of Ms. Talackova if the Miss Universe Pageant refuses to change its discriminatory rule.”

The blonde beauty has not tried to hide her past. In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she states that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.

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A petition was started on Change.org asking Miss Universe Canada to “reverse the unfair disqualification of Jenna Talackova.” The petition was signed by tens of thousands of people.

Other fans have flocked to Facebook and Twitter to express their feelings over Talackova’s disqualification.

“Disgraceful. This is flat-out discrimination,” one fan commented on the Miss Universe Canada Facebook page.

“@JennaTalackova should NOT have been disqualified from @MissUniverse! Beautiful is beautiful. Down with discrimination,” one fan tweeted.

But reactions to Talackova’s story have been mixed.

“If she never stated on her application such detail, I support this decision,” one Facebook user posted to the Miss Universe Canada page.

This isn’t the first time a transgender woman has been disqualified from a competition. In 1976, Renèe Richards, a professional American tennis player who had sexual reassignment surgery to make her a woman, was denied entry into the U.S. Open by the United States Tennis Association unless she agreed to chromosomal testing. The USTA cited an unprecedented, women-born-women policy. Richards took her case to the New York Supreme Court, which ruled in her favor in 1977, allowing her to play as a woman.

The crown for Miss Universe Canada will be awarded May 19 in Toronto.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Monday
Mar262012

Miss Universe Disqualifies Transgender Contestant

CHRISTOPHE ARCHAMBAULT/AFP/Getty Images(TORONTO) -- Jenna Talackova, 23, has been disqualified from the Miss Universe Canada competition because she was born a male, according to CTV.

Talackova was originally selected as one of 65 finalists for the Donald Trump-owned competition. Her profile and photos have since been pulled from the Miss Universe Canada website.

“Jenna Talackova from Vancouver, British Columbia will not compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada competition because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form,” Miss Universe Canada said in a statement Friday. “We do however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best.”

The Miss Universe Canada website states that to enter, women must be a Canadian citizen and between the ages of 18 and 27. If basic requirements are met, they are asked to fill out a longer application form. The form does not mention any rules against sexual reassignment surgery. A representative for the Miss Universe Canada did not respond to request for comment.

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Denis Davila, the national director of Miss Universe Canada, told CTV, “she was dishonest.” Talackova was disqualified after she admitted her birth gender last week.

“We have to have the facts straight. There is no discrimination here at all,” Davila said. “You can look at it the way she wants to look at it, but we all have to follow the same rules.”

Talackova could not be reached by ABC News for comment.

The blonde beauty has not tried to hide her past. In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she states that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.

A petition has been started on Change.org asking Miss Universe Canada to “reverse the unfair disqualification of Jenna Talackova.” The petition currently has more than 20,000 signatures.

The crown for Miss Universe Canada will be awarded May 19 in Toronto.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep162011

Miss Universe Accused of Faking Documents for Pageant

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(BUENOS AIRES) -- New allegations against the winner of the Miss Universe competition claim that Miss Angola, Leila Lopes, falsified documents to enter and win a qualifying contest in England.

The Argentinian newspaper Infobae published a report Thursday alleging that Lopes was unfairly allowed to participate in a Miss Angola competition for Angolan citizens living in the U.K., even though she has never lived outside of Angola.

The report claimed that a man named Charles Mukano helped falsify documents identifying Lopes as a student of business management at a British school, enabling her to enter and win the contest there. Infobae cites reports in Angolan media that allege that Mukano may have even bribed judges in England to ensure Lopes’s win.

Lopes was the first Miss Universe from her country, but came under attack in the following days by Miss France and fans of Miss Philippines as undeserving of the crown.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Sep092011

Controversy's King Ahead of Miss Universe Pageant

STR/AFP/Getty Images(SAO PAULO, Brazil) -- A winner's yet to be crowned, but already Miss Universe is raising eyebrows.

Ahead of the Sept. 12 pageant in Sao Paulo, Brazil, a few details have leaked out about Donald Trump's annual celebration of some of the world's most beautiful women. Like, Miss Colombia maybe has a penchant for not wearing underpants.

Twenty-two-year-old Catalina Robayo's miniskirts garnered more attention than usual when photographers documented what looked like a lack of garments beneath them. This week she was reprimanded by pageant organizers.

"Our supervisors talked to all of the contestants about dressing appropriately, and one of our PR people spoke to her, and apparently she said she was wearing underwear," Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe organization, told E! Online. "But regardless, it created quite a stir here for a few days."

Pageant officials refused to confirm whether or not Robayo was wearing underwear. But Colombia's brunette bombshell need not fear. Actress Vivica Fox, who will help judge this year's competition, offered advice on how Robayo, and any scandal-scarred contestant, for that matter, can rebound from a bout of bad, pre-pageant publicity.

"The first thing I would say is to breathe," she told ABCNews.com during a conference call with reporters Thursday. "Do not put so much pressure on yourself that you freeze up. Just be yourself, be likable."

Bravo executive vice president Andy Cohen, who's co-hosting the ceremonies, had more direct advice.

"She's coming into this with some people who maybe already have opinions about her but, you know, what she's got to do … she's got to be even stronger," he said. "She can't lose her confidence. She's really got to wow. And, she should probably wear undies."

Robayo's alleged ban on briefs hasn't been the pageant's only problem. Officials were forced to return bikini bottoms from sponsor Catalina Brasil Swimwear after they were deemed too skimpy for audiences. (What flies on the sands of Rio, unsurprisingly, raises issues on prime time network TV.)

It's far from the first time controversy's reigned at one of Trump's many pageants. Carrie Prejean memorably condemned gay marriage at the 2009 Miss USA pageant, posed for partially nude photos and later lost her crown due to breach of contract. Last year, the Miss USA organization came under fire after releasing racy portraits of the contestants clad in lingerie.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Mar312011

Miss Dominican Republic Loser Says Title Winner Paid for Crown

Ethan Miller/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The president of the Miss Universe organization defended the group's handling of this year's Miss Dominican Republic competition amid accusations that the title winner paid for her crown.

Paula Shugart, head of the Miss Universe organization, which runs the Miss Dominican Republic event, said she has seen no evidence of improper behavior at the March 8 event.

"We pride ourselves on running a proper pageant," Shugart told ABC News. "We obviously take these kinds of claims seriously but we have heard nothing but great things about how the pageant was run."

Evi Siskos, a finalist for Miss Dominican Republic, claimed Wednesday that the winner, Dalia Fernandez, paid more than $100,000 to win the beauty competition. Siskos says she made the claims after reading tabloid stories in the Spanish-language press in the Dominican Republic.

"We started reading stories in the press that the crown was bought," she said at a press conference in New York. "We deserve an explanation."

Siskos' attorney, Jacob Oresky, pleaded with Donald Trump to investigate the claims. Trump is part owner, along with NBC, of the Miss Universe organization.

"Donald Trump is a fair man. He's very powerful. He should look into it," Oresky said at the press conference. "There are allegations that the crown was bought."

Shugart, the Miss Universe president, says she hasn't heard directly from Siskos or her attorney and has yet to see concrete details of the claims.

Oresky did not return calls seeking comment Thursday. Dalia Fernandez, who will compete in the Miss Universe pageant in August, has yet to weigh in on the payment accusations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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