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First transgender contestant to compete for Miss California USA crown

Kylan Wenzel: 'This has been a dream since I was 11'
Friday, January 11, 2013

Among the 229 contestants competing for the title of Miss California USA will be Kylan Arianna Wenzel, a 26-year-old transgender woman from Century City, Calif.

Wenzel will be the first ever transgender contestant after the Miss Universe Organization changed its rules in April last year — Miss Universe operates the Miss USA pageant, and the local pageants that determine the state delegates.

Kylan Wenzel

Appearing on “Anderson Live” on Friday, Wenzel told host Anderson Cooper, “This has been a dream since I was 11. So I kind of just put it out to the universe and hoping it would happen. And then it happened.”

Last year, the Miss Universe Organization announced it was changing its rules and will allow transgender women to take part in all of its competitions starting in 2013.

The announcement came in response to a controversy when transgender contestant Jenna Talackova was disqualified from competing for the title of Miss Universe Canada because she was not a “naturally born female.”

When she learned of the rule change, Wenzel said she left her job as a shift manager at Jamba Juice to pursue her life-long dream of entering the Miss California beauty pageant.

“I moved my surgery up six months, I resigned from my job. Ever since then I’ve been just working on hoping to become Miss California,” she told Cooper.

Following is a clip from Wenzel’s appearance on “Anderson Live:”

Preliminary competition in for the Miss California USA title begins tomorrow, when the 229 contestants will be narrowed to 20 semifinalists who will compete in Pasadena on Sunday.

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17 more reader comments:

  1. U go girl!! I wish I could

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:03pm
  2. Make us proud!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:05pm
  3. Woooo! :-)

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:09pm
  4. Right on!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:12pm
  5. Awesome show them how it’s done !!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:13pm
  6. Wow she’s gorgeous!!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:14pm
  7. That is amazing! =)

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:25pm
  8. Wow! She is stunning!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:27pm
  9. Yes she is Stunning.

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:39pm
  10. She def looks all natural to me :)

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 4:54pm
  11. Beautiful lady in every sense of the word. Wish you well on your way to capture the crown.

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:00pm
  12. What a hot beautiful PERSON. And she looks amazing !

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:10pm
  13. Awesome

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:13pm
  14. Beautiful lady

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:17pm
  15. Beautiful!!

    Posted on Friday, January 11, 2013 at 5:49pm
  16. ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! XO. PROUD OF YOU!

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 1:53am
  17. You go girl.

    Posted on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 10:37am