SPANISH model, Angela Ponce, has been honoured by Miss Universe having become the first transgender model to become a contestant.
Miss Spain, from Sevilla, made history on Sunday night at the live competition in Bangkok, Thailand.
Although she narrowly missed out on a spot in the top 20, the 27-year-old pointed out that the significance of taking part was more important than winning the crown.
“My hope for tomorrow is to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone, simply for us all to understand that we are human and we must make all our lives easier together,” she said.
“If I can give that to the world, I don’t need to win Miss Universe, I only need to be here.”
Ponce received a standing ovation as she walked down the catwalk proudly raising her Miss Spain sash, with one hand over her heart.
Honestly speaking, my favorite part of the pageant was Angela Ponce’s special segment. Every word she said was so important for the representation of our trans allies. she raised her sash not just for Spain but, for her sisters too. #MissUniverse pic.twitter.com/uA4IXGJ9oZ— gelo (@freedakahIo) December 17, 2018
Organisers paid tribute to Ponce by screening a special video montage remembering her highlights during the competition.
Model and co-host Ashley Graham narrated the segment and praised the Spanish contestant for being the perfect Miss Universe candidate.
One word: Fierce. ?? pic.twitter.com/tH1pQVHk8A— Miss Universe (@MissUniverse) December 10, 2018
“Angela Ponce is everything you’d expect from the reigning Miss Universe,” Graham told E! News.
“She’s smart. Driven. Beautiful. But her path has been anything but ordinary. And nothing short of extraordinary.”
Miss Philippines Catriona Gray took home the Miss Universe crown.
There has been an outpour of support for Ponce across social media, with thousands of emotional messages shared on Twitter.