Angela Ponce, Spain’s Miss Universe hopeful and the pageant’s first-ever transgender contestant, was unable to capture the crown on Sunday night — and she couldn’t have cared less.
“I don’t need to win Miss Universe,” explained Ponce, after failing to make the top 20.
“I only need to be here,” she said.
This year’s title wound up going to the Philippines’ Catriona Gray — one of the early favorites — but that didn’t stop pageant officials from giving Ponce a chance to speak about her history-making inclusion during a special, pre-recorded segment.
“I’m here to represent diversity of humans in the world,” she said. “My hope is for tomorrow to be able to live in a world of equality for everyone, simply for us all to understand that we are human and that we must make all our lives easier together. That reality for many people is going to change.”