Arielle Keil makes history as first transgender woman to represent New Zealand at Miss Intercontinental 2020

13 Oct 2020 | Ana Walia

Arielle Keil’s win as Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020 on 12th October 2020 will not only be remembered as a day in the history of beauty pageants but also as a step to eradicate the stereotype that only naturally born woman have the right to be a beauty queen. Arielle is a half Filipino and half New Zealand descent who will now represent the country of New Zealand at Miss Intercontinental 2020 stage and becomes the first transgender beauty queen to represent New Zealand at international stage.

Arielle is 26-years-old who has spent a lot of her time and years to fight the system which didn’t allow her to participate at a beauty pageant but now, her time is finally here and she has not only won the title but also will be representing her home country at an international pageant by being the first transgender woman to do that and her win felt surreal to her.



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The diva was raised in an extremely conservative family and in 2012 she announced to her family that she would transition to female, and was given an ultimatum by her father; "I was given the option to stop transitioning or get out - so I said 'okay, I'm out,” she explained. Arielle explained her father’s reaction towards her transition, "He was raised super conservative Catholic, so he was raised to believe that people like me are evil and disgusting - but when you have a child who is queer, or who is trans, then you're forced to reassess those thoughts.”

Arielle’s father was present at the coronation night when his daughter was crowned as Miss Intercontinental New Zealand 2020 and he was proud of her. The diva explained that she always dreamt of being the woman on the runway, and now she is working hard to be that woman she always aspired to be. Through her hard work and determination, she is living her childhood dream, and says others can and should follow her example.



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The diva also explained that whenever she saw a beauty queen on-stage she always felt that the women who are queens are badass because according to people they are faking their smiles and are simply beautiful but she believes that women who compete at beauty pageants are the one who have had a chance to change something in their community which is badass and she always aspired to be like one.

For other members of the LGBTQI+ community, Keil has a message; "Keep fighting. The world can make us feel like freaks, like we're not what we say we are. But I know who I am. 100 people can call me a man but when I look at myself in the mirror, I see a woman - mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually."