(TORONTO) — Jenna Talackova, the transgender Canadian beauty queen, placed in the top 12 at the Miss Universe Canada pageant, but fell short of the crown.
The 6-foot-1 blonde bombshell was a crowd favorite as she strutted down the runway in the evening gown and swimwear portions of the competition.
Talackova also seemed to be a favorite among her fellow contestants and was one of four women voted “Miss Congeniality.”
The 23 year old was originally disqualified from the competition because she was not a “naturally born female.”
After threats of a lawsuit and public outcry, the Trump Organization, which owns the contest, announced Talackova would be allowed to compete.
“I didn’t know that there would be this much controversy. I was just entering because, you know, I wanted to represent Canada. I think I’m a beautiful woman, inside and out, and I think I would have done the job,” Talckova told ABC News’ Barbara Walters during her fight to be reinstated into the competition.
The beauty queen, who was born Walter Talackova, has not tried to hide her past.
In a 2010 YouTube video for Miss International Queen, a transgender/transsexual competition in which Talackova was a contestant, she stated that she began hormone therapy at age 14. At 19, she had sexual reassignment surgery.
“Because I’m a woman, and I feel like the universe, the Creator just put me in this position as an advocate,” she said. ” If it’s helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Paul Cruickshank and Michael Pearson, CNN