Jenna Talackova made history last night becoming the first-ever transgendered beauty queen to compete in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.
The 6’1” blonde bombshell from Vancouver was originally booted from the Miss Universe Canada competition "because she did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form," the organization said in a statement March 23.
"As with any competition, the Miss Universe pageant has rules which apply to all of its franchises around the world," The Miss Universe Organization said. "Such rules include, but are not limited to citizenship, age, and marital status requirements."
Additionally, the rules currently state that all contestants must be naturally born females. After review, organizers discovered that Jenna Talackova falsified her application and did not meet the necessary requirements to compete in the 2012 Miss Universe Canada pageant."
But a media firestorm soon ensued, leading businessman Donald Trump, who owns the Miss Universe organization, to dismiss the "naturally born female," rule on April 2, allowing Jenna to compete, said the Globe and Mail.
I thought that I was in the wrong body
But her celebrity was far from over. Accompanied by her mother and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, Talackova sat down with ABC News’ Barbara Walters on April 6 for an exclusive interview.
Screenshot via YouTube
Screengrab from Transgender Beauty Queen: Jenna Talackova's mother, Myrtle Perry who told Barbara she always wanted a girl.
The beauty, who revealed that her birth name was Walter Talackova, said she was just four years old when she realized she was different.
Her mother told Barbara that she had always wanted a daughter, but when Jenna was born she thought, "Ok that's it I guess. I have four boys. But now I have four sons and a daughter."
“As soon as I was conscious, I just always knew that I was not what they were saying. It wasn’t right,” she told Walters.
John Bertacco, her cousin and band councillor in the Lake Babine Nation in Burns Lake, told the Vancouver Sun that she started using her mother's makeup and shoes at a young age.
“I thought that I was in the wrong body," Talackova said.
So did her classmates. By the eighth grade,at Vancouver's Killarney secondary, her long hair and feminine pants won her such names as "tranny" and "it" by bullies at school. According to the Vancouver Sun, she had a slender frame and a blonde bob; she hung around mostly with female friends.
She changed her name from Walter to Page.
Screenshot via YouTube
Screengrab from Transgender Beauty Queen: Jenna Talackova as Grade eight student Walter Page Talackova
"It was very obvious," said Teruko Walker, recalling her looks and behavior when she was in her early teens.
"It wasn't like she looked like a boy, but acted like a girl. She very much looked like a female," said Walker, who was in Grade 11 at the high school at the time, according to the Sun.
At the age of 14, she started hormone treatments, which helped her develop breasts and gave her skin a more feminine quality. She changed her name again, from Page to Jenna.
The treatments “made me feel better, mentally,” she said.
After years of counseling, Talackova obtained letters from doctors testifying that she qualified for sex reassignment surgery — surgery that the Canadian health system paid for.
The procedure used the skin of Talackova’s penis to create a vagina. She called the surgery “intense” but ultimately “rewarding.”
Miss Universe Canada
Jenna Talackova was born as a male. Talackova began hormone therapy at 14 and had sexual reassignment surgery in 2010
"It was terribly painful," Talackova told Walters of the procedure, "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."
To complete her physical transformation, Talackova also had other surgeries — she was given breast implants and also had her Adam’s apple removed.
From the Canadian government’s standpoint, Jenna is, a woman. Her legal transformation became complete after she changed her Canadian driver's license, passport and birth certificate from male to female.
She even has a boyfriend, a man she says is near her age and is "very supportive … just an amazing man," she said.
Jenna on making history
Currently a student at the Institute of Holistic Nutrition, the 23-year-old is more than cognizant of her responsibility as a role model.
"I feel like the universe, the creator just put me in this position as an advocate, she told Walters. "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."
According to a press release, during publicity events earlier this week, she said that no matter what happens, it's been worth it.
"If it works out, then great. If not, I’m so proud of myself,” she said, adding “I’ve set a precedent for a lot of women in my situation so once I step on that stage every woman in every other country that doesn’t have the option I have now can fight for it,' she said.
"I feel so blessed with this opportunity."
The title of Miss Universe Canada 2012 will be awarded on Saturday, May 19th, 2012.