Transgender woman crowned Miss New Zealand

Arielle Keil

Arielle Keil made history when she was crowned Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020. She was not only the first Filipino-born to do it, but also the first transgender woman.

“The pageant was an amazing experience. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the longest time so to actually live out my dream has been amazing,” she said.

The 26-year-old fashion design student was born into a traditional Filipino family and was initially shunned when she first came out.

“Coming out as a gay man was nowhere near as terrifying as coming out as a transgender woman,’ she told Metro.

“Your whole life changes and so does the way people will see you forever.”

But she says that now, she has reconciled with her family, and is determined to make them, and other people who see her as an inspiration proud.

“I would say to any Filipinos going on a similar journey to stay true to themselves always. Don’t ever let people’s opinions dilute your soul as a person. You only have one life, live it on your terms!” she said.