As Pride Month comes to a close, Spain has crowned Angela Ponce as its representative for this year’s Miss Universe competition.
She is the first transgender woman to win the crown and will represent her country in the Miss Universe pageant come this fall.
Ponce has previously competed in the 2015 Miss World Spain competition representing Cadiz but failed to take home the crown that year.
At the time, she told the Daily Mailshe felt like a winner anyway saying, “I have the regional crown on my head and I will keep fighting to make us seen, to make us heard and to demonstrate that I am already a queen with my own crown.”
“Society is not educated for diversity and that is what has made me go public,” she added. “Here I am and I’m not weird, I just have a different story.”
The Miss Universe competition has allowed transgender contestants to compete since 2012.
From 1996 to 2015, Donald Trump co-owned the Miss Universe Organization, which also included the Miss U.S.A. and Miss Teen U.S.A. pageants. A day or two before a pageant began, Trump would casually visit the contestants while they conducted their final rehearsals. Former contestants told me that Trump would circulate among the young women, shaking hands and chatting with each of them, periodically turning to speak with Paula Shugart, the president of the Miss Universe Organization, who followed him at a discreet distance. (Paula Shugart declined to comment.)
Adwoa Yamoah, who competed as Miss Canada in 2012, told me, “He made comments about every girl: ‘I’ve been to that country.’ ‘We’re building a Trump Tower there.’ It was clear the countries that he liked did well. He’d whisper to Paula about the girls, and she’d write it down. He basically told us he picked nine of the top fifteen.”
Kerrie Baylis, who was Miss Jamaica in 2013, described a similar scene and added that, when the finalists were announced, “the list looked like the countries that Donald Trump did business with, or wanted to do business with.” Shi Lim, who competed that year as Miss Singapore, told me, “The finalists were picked by Trump. He was really in charge. We called it the Trump card.” (A Miss Universe spokeswoman said that the pageant rules allowed the company’s staff, including Trump, to participate in naming the finalists.)
Toobin goes on to chronicle Trump’s obsession with Russian business, and explains how the 2013 Miss Universe Pageant (held in Russia) helped create many connections between Team Trump and several wealthy Russian businessmen.
In the wake of the Miss Universe and Miss USA Pageants being dropped by NBC and Univision over Donald Trump’s racist remarks about Mexican immigrants, Trump has filed a $500 million law suit against Univision.
In the suit Trump says Univision is seeking to squash his freedom of speech.
(Actually, he’s perfectly free to express himself. He just needs to realize actions and opinions have consequences.)
Trump claims Univision is attempting to suppress his freedom of speech. Here’s an excerpt from The Trump Organization’s statement via NPR:
“Under the contract, Univision is required to broadcast the pageant live on television in Spanish. While Univision claims its decision came solely in response to comments by Mr. Trump during a June 16 campaign speech announcing his candidacy for President of the United States, the decision was, in reality, a politically motivated attempt to suppress Mr. Trump’s freedom of speech under the First Amendment as he begins to campaign for the nation’s presidency.”
Last year’s host of the Miss Universe pageant, Thomas Roberts of MSNBC, has dropped out of the event, as well has co-host Cheryl Burke.
“In light of the recent statements made by Donald Trump and the subsequent decision by NBC to cut ties with Mr. Trump, I cannot in good conscience move forward with participating in this year’s Miss USA Pageant as its co-host,” Burke wrote on Facebook. “Effective today I have withdrawn from my duties with Miss USA.”
Roberts sent this Tweet on Tuesday: “Best of luck to all #MissUSA2015 contestants this year & THX to the good people behind the scenes @MissUniverse – been a joy working w/you!”
NBC has announced it will not air either pageant even as the Miss USA event is scheduled to go on July 12th.
Thomas Roberts on the Miss Universe Pageant Red Carpet with husband Patrick Abner
Speaking on the red carpet of the Miss Universe Pageant in Russia before his hosting duties, MSNBC News anchor Thomas Roberts addressed the anti-gay laws and legislation taking place in Russia:
“I know the law is very vague and still hard to interpret for many people,” Roberts stated. “But it is discrimination and that’s definitive. And I don’t think that the LGBT population in Russia or anywhere should be marginalized to that degree. We are not asking for special protection. We’re just asking for equal respect.”