Transgender woman of Filipino descent makes historical win in Miss New Zealand pageant

26-year-old Arielle Keil has made history by winning the title of Miss Interconintental New Zealand 2020. Arielle was born in Davao City in the Philippines, but grew up in Auckland New Zealand.

Her family was not very pleased with her coming out as trans and when she began transitioning in 2017 she was given the choice to either stop hormone therapy or leave home. She was kicked out of home and experienced hardship.

She was raised in a religious home and the church taught her to believe that she would end up in hell for wanting to be a woman. Over the years, she has battled depression and almost took her own life. But the challenges have only made her become stronger.

But the beauty queen said, “My life turned upside down when I transitioned … but I would rather go through hell as a woman than have an easy life as a man. Whatever the universe wants to throw at me – do it.”

Arielle chose to go to Thailand to have top to bottom surgery which involved getting breast implants and a vaginoplasty, making her the first post-operative transgender contestant to compete in the Miss New Zealand beauty pageant.

With her Filipino descent, she has earned a following from Filipino fans since pageantry in the Philippines is as lauded as rugby is in New Zealand.

“When I heard I was crowned Miss Intercontinental NZ, it was a surreal feeling! It didn’t feel real then and even to this day it doesn’t feel real sometimes!” Arielle said.

“This is a thought I have several times a day while looking in the mirror clothed in an oversized hoodie and a scrunchie to keep my

About Korina Estrada 42 Articles
A writer and an advocate of self-love and body positivity. She loves baking cookies, practicing her calligraphy, and creating short stories of local folklore.

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