TORONTO - Transgender trailblazer Jenna Talackova lost her bid to become Miss Universe Canada over the weekend, but said Sunday that her history-making appearance has awarded her a much more meaningful role as a civil rights champion.

"I never thought I would be wearing (the) crown of an advocate and it feels really good, I feel very honoured," Talackova said one day after losing the Miss Universe Canada title to fellow Vancouverite Sahar Biniaz.

"I was training for eight months, I was very dedicated and all of a sudden I was disqualified and for something that was so unjust. And now I'm a heroine in a lot of people's eyes and it's just made me so humbled and I wake up pinching myself."

The Vancouver blond fell just outside the winner's circle Saturday night, when she was cut after making the Top 12.

Talackova said Sunday she was "a little bummed out" for a few seconds, but quickly put the race behind her and felt grateful for the chance to compete and raise awareness of gender inequality.

Born Walter Talackova, the 23-year-old holistic nutrition student underwent sex change surgery four years ago. She was initially barred from competing until pageant owner Donald Trump said he would allow her to take part.

On Sunday, Talackova's high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred called on Trump to revoke any Miss Universe franchise that excludes transgender contestants.

"It's clear, it's simple: If they discriminate on account of gender identity they should not be allowed to have their candidate participate in the Miss Universe pageant worldwide," said Allred, who flew in from Los Angeles to support her client.

"Simple as that."

The Miss Universe Organization has said it would allow transgender competitors at any of its contests, but could not guarantee that local franchises would carry out the new policy.

Its president, Paula Shugart, said Allred's demands oversimplify the issue.

"This is not her argument to decide," Shugart shot back from Las Vegas where she was preparing for the Miss USA contest June 3.

"Last I heard she is a lawyer in the United States and she should know there are laws all around the world that you have to respect."

Shugart accused Allred of attempting to highjack the spotlight for personal publicity.

She says Miss Universe tried to invite Talackova into Miss Universe Canada for more than a week before Allred held a press conference April 3 that criticized Trump's handling of the scandal.

"We have made a very, very big step here, we've made a step without Gloria Allred's involvement, we made a step before we even knew she was involved and if anything she has hindered the process," Shugart said.

"This is obviously something that is very, very new and we're really taking it on a day-by-day basis."

Despite the high-profile battle, Talackova said she's gained strength and self-esteem, even as criticism escalated when the pageant neared.

"It got pretty aggressive during these seven days but I was ready for it. My whole life I've had to put up with some sort of criticism and that's OK. I don't feel bad about it, I don't hold grudges against anybody," said Talackova, whose appearance onstage Saturday drew some boos from the audience.

"I feel electrified, I feel really great about everything, I wouldn't change anything."

Talackova said a documentary crew followed her backstage at the pageant, but couldn't say yet what the footage might be used for.

She said she's contemplating her next step — which includes modelling, acting and plans for a book.

"I'm turning my journals of six years into a self-help book so hopefully that will help a lot of people around the world. I'm definitely going to go into some film and modelling and hopefully that helps a lot of people, too."

Allred said Talackova has settled comfortably into being a role model.

"She's become a civil rights pioneer and we're very proud of her. Even if she didn't win (Miss Universe Canada) she's still a winner in my book. She's still won in the important civil rights battle which, I think, is frankly even more important than the crown of Miss Universe Canada."

Talackova said she hopes the rest of the world will open more doors to transgender people and that she can inspire pageant hopefuls to follow their dreams.

"All I can say is practice, embrace your individuality and give it your best shot," she said. "Because eventually one of us will win."

Related on HuffPost:

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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)



Loading Slideshow...
  • 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>