Jenna Talackova, Miss Universe Canada Contestant, Makes History As Pageant's First-Ever Transgender Beauty (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

CP  |  By Posted: Updated: 05/17/2012 1:52 pm

TORONTO - Jenna Talackova is set to make history as the first-ever transgender contestant to compete at the Miss Universe Canada pageant.

The Vancouver beauty, who was born a man but underwent sex-change surgery four years ago, is among 62 contenders vying for the crown.

It all starts Thursday night with a swimwear and evening gown contest in front of a panel of 15 judges and a live audience in downtown Toronto.

The panel includes designers Colin McAllister and Justin Ryan of HGTV's "Home Heist," "The Kennedys" actress Kristin Booth and singer Kreesha Turner.

The Miss Universe Canada winner will be crowned Saturday.

Talackova has drawn the bulk of media attention so far, attracting an entourage of reporters and photographers at various public events in recent days.

IN PHOTOS (Story continues under slideshow)

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  • Jenna Talackova

    Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova reacts as she makes the top 20 cut in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Saturday May 19, 2012. Talackova sparked global attention when she was initially disqualified from the pageant. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Jenna Talackova

    Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova watches a fellow contestant take to the stage in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Saturday May 19, 2012. Talackova sparked global attention when she was initially disqualified from the pageant. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Jenna Talackova

    Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova, center, appears in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Saturday May 19, 2012. Talackova sparked global attention when she was initially disqualified from the pageant. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Jenna Talackova

    Transgendered beauty queen Jenna Talackova reacts as she makes the top 20 cut in the Miss Universe Canada pageant in Toronto on Saturday May 19, 2012. Talackova sparked global attention when she was initially disqualified from the pageant. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • Jenna Talackova, the first transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant, is seen during a photo shoot at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Toronto on Saturday, May 12, 2012, in advance of the Miss Universe Canada pageant. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Aaron Vincent Elkaim

  • (Alex Urosevic/iPhotoLive.com)

  • 62 finalists for Miss Universe Canada pose for a photo in advance of the pageant. (Alex Urosevic/iPhotoLive.com)

  • Jenna Talackova, the first transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant, poses during a photo shoot at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Toronto on Saturday, May 12, 2012 ahead the Miss Universe Canada pageant. Talackova, a Vancouver resident, underwent a sex change four years ago after being born a male. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

  • (Alex Urosevic/iPhotoLive.com)

  • (Alex Urosevic/iPhotoLive.com)

  • Vancouver's transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova arrives with fellow pageant contestants at St. John Vianney Catholic School in Toronto on Tuesday May 15, 2012.(AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Jenna Talackova, the first transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant, is photographed with other contestants during a photo call at the Sandman Signature Hotel in Toronto on Saturday, May 12, 2012 ahead of the Miss Universe Canada pageant. Talackova, a Vancouver resident, underwent a sex change four years ago after being born a male. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

  • (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Aaron Vincent Elkaim)

  • Jenna Talackova takes a picture with 11-year-old student Kadeen Drummond as Miss Universe Canada contestants visit St. John Vianney Catholic School in Toronto on Tuesday May 15, 2012. Talackova says she's proud to be opening the door for other transgender pageant hopefuls who may want to follow in her footsteps. Talackova ignited a media firestorm after she was initially disqualified from the pageant because she isn't a naturally born female. Pageant owner Donald Trump overruled the decision and said Talackova could take part. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Vancouver's transgender Miss Universe Canada contestant Jenna Talackova gestures as Miss Universe Canada contestants visit St. John Vianney Catholic School in Toronto on Tuesday May 15, 2012. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Chris Young)

  • Jenna Talackova enjoys pool side at a Los Angeles hotel, April 2, 2012. (iPhotoLIve.com)

  • Jenna Talackova smiles at a press conference with her attorney Gloria Allred (not pictured) in Los Angeles on April 3, 2012 in California. Talackova was previously disqualified from Miss Universe Canada, she said, because she used to be male. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Jenna Talackova looks on at a press conference in Los Angeles as her attorney Gloria Allred displays Jenna's passport on April 3, 2012. (FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP/Getty Images)

  • Jenna Talackova, who advanced to the finals of the Miss Canada competition, part of the Miss Universe contest, and was recently forced out of the competition, is listed in her passport as female (with other personal identifying information redacted) at a news conference in Los Angeles Tuesday, April 3, 2012. (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)

  • In this image released by ABC, beauty contestant Jenna Talackova, left, poses with ABC's Barbara Walters at an interview Thursday, April 5, 2012 in New York. (AP Photo/ABC, Heidi Gutman)

She's taken the scrutiny in stride, even lobbing a jab at pageant owner Donald Trump when asked how she feels about his involvement.

"Well, he has great pageant hair already," she quipped during a visit to a Toronto school earlier this week.

Watch Jenna's Contestant Interview

Who's The Competition

The tall, slim blond created an international splash when organizers disqualified her because she isn't a naturally-born female.

But Trump overruled the decision and said Talackova could take part.

Canadian organizers say the Miss Universe Canada winner is the contender that personifies "the combination of humility, beauty and intelligence that define women of the 21st Century."

Miss Universe Canada 2011 is Chelsae Durocher of Tecumseh, Ont.

"There's a lot of attention, but it's attention in a good way," Talackova said of her heavily publicized run at the crown.

"It's a good cause, right? It's for equality."

The Other Contestants


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  • Jenna Talackova

    Age: 23 | Height: 6'1"<br>Hometown: Vancouver, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Adwoa Yamoah

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Alena Konovalova

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Maple, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Ali Sarchuk

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Saskatoon, SK <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Alicia George

    Age: 20 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Surrey, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Amanda Kazmierczak

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Toronto, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Amanda-Lee Bordun

    Age: 20 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Steinbach, MB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Amanda Morie

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Edmonton, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Anna Piatrovich

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Richmond Hill, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Brianne Kidner

    Age: 19 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Edmonton, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Carla Bradstock

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Richmond, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Casar Jacobson

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Vancouver, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Casendre Paquet

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Saint-Laurent, QC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Chelsea Bird

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Edmonton, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Chelsey Smith

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Edmonton, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Chelsi Mittelholzer

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Markham, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Christine Adela White

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'11″<br>Hometown: Vancouver, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Dajana Radovanovic

    Age: 20 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Toronto, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Danielle Murphy

    Age: 20 | Height: 6'0″<br>Hometown: Brockville, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Diana Schoutsen

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Binbrook, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Ela Mino

    Age: 20 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Elana Wu

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Richmond, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Ella Law

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'5″<br>Hometown: Edmonton, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Haley Draper

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: London, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Ines Kipre

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Gatineau, QC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Isabella Romero

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Sherbrooke, QC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Jasmine Pham

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Kapuskasing, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Jennifer Grudić

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Corner Brook, NL <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Jennifer Skroch

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Joyanna Mitchell

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Beaumont, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Katerina Kiprich

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Toronto, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Katie Starke

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'11″<br>Hometown: Uxbridge, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Kesiah Papasin

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Etobicoke, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Kimealia Hercules

    Age: 20 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: Montreal, QC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Kuyan Elliott

    Age: 19 | Height: 5'9″<br>Hometown: LaSalle, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Kylee Jean Apers

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Armstrong, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Kyra Weston

    Age: 19 | Height: 5'5″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Lisa Wong

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Toronto, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Majd Soudi

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Ottawa, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Mandi Gale

    Age: 22 | Height: 5'4″<br>Hometown: Grand Falls-Windsor, NL <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Maria Cecilia Nicolas

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'6″<br>Hometown: Thompson, MB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Maria Nahri

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Markham, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Mariangela Avila

    Age:19 | Height: 4'10″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Marta Jablonska

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Hamilton, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Mina Khtaria

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Surrey, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Natka Brestovanska

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'10″<br>Hometown: Orillia, ON <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Nazanin Gheitasian

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'7″<br>Hometown: Vancouver, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Raman Basi

    Age: 23 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Sahar Biniaz

    Age: 26 | Height: 5'8″<br>Hometown: Vancouver, BC <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Samantha Morris

    Age: 21 | Height: 5'11″<br>Hometown: Calgary, AB <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>

  • Sarah Harrison

    Age: 24 | Height: 5'11″<br>Hometown: Halifax, NS <em>Credit: <a href="http://www.beautiesofcanada.com/muc/contestants/2012-finals/" target="_hplink">Miss Universe Canada</a></em>




Contestant Interview


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