Jenna Talackova on 20/20 April 6


Beauty queen Jenna Talackova will be interviewed and profiled on ABC’s 20/20 tonight at 10 p.m. Eastern Time.

Talackova, whose family hails from Babine Lake Nation, the third-largest aboriginal group in British Columbia, has been fighting for her right to compete in ways she never had to fight to become a girl.

Self-identifying as female at age 4, Talackova began hormone treatments as a teen and received gender reassignment surgery at age 19. Her parents supported her decision—her mother appears with her on 2o/20—and her community donated $2,500 toward her Miss Universe bid, according to the Vancouver Sun.

There was never any question growing up.

"I just always knew that I was not what they were saying,” said Talackova, who was originally named Walter, in the 20/20 interview. “It was not right. I was not in the right body."

Jenna 8th grade

Classmates, interviewed by the Vancouver Sun, said the same.

"It was very obvious," said Teruko Walker of her 11th-grade impressions of Talackova’s looks and demeanor back in high school. "It wasn't like she looked like a boy but acted like a girl. She very much looked like a female.”

Thus Talackova was stunned by her disqualification, she said on April 3, sitting next to prominent U.S. attorney Gloria Allred at a press conference announcing possible legal action.

“I am a woman,” she said in a statement. “I was devastated and I felt that excluding me for the reason that they gave was unjust.”

Now Talackova has not only won the right to compete but also seems to have reversed the rule, as she wanted: Miss Universe pageant owner Donald Trump has rescinded the clause saying that contestants must be a “natural-born female.”

"I feel like the universe, the Creator, just put me in this position as an advocate, and now it's like this, and I’ll take that position,” Talackova told broadcast journalist Barbara Walters in an interview for ABC’s 20/20. “If it's helping anybody else, my story and my actions, then I feel great about it."

It’s not clear whether she will compete, even though she has been given the go-ahead. As of April 6 her photos still were not in the gallery of finalists on the Miss Universe Canada web page.

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beaver's picture
Submitted by beaver on
If Jenna Talackova had put 1/100th as much fight into improving the lot of Aboriginal Canadians, I would have had much respect for him/her. As of today, this person is, or rather should be, irrelevant to indigenous peoples.

beaver's picture
Submitted by beaver on
And now the world will say looking at Jenna Talackova, "Native people have all become white - look, they have so much money that they even have expensive sex change operations, so why should we give them special privileges?" If you ask me, Jenna Talackova is hurting Indians.

andec8's picture
Submitted by andec8 on
I do not believe that she should be able to participate, she should not reap rewards through falsification, it would be no different if I had a process done to make my skin look African American, facial features sugecally done to match, hair to match, and then try to apply for the United Negro College Fund, I may look African American, paper work that may state it,a name to match, but that does not make me African American. This is the most extreme form of body enhancement that can happen, in short it is cheating. She may look female, act female, live female but her DNA says she is male. She can do her life as she wants but to have personal gain from the fact of being female is wrong. This can be a very slippery slope that we travel, before long we will have people having cosmetic surgery to look like something other than what they are, and trying to gain an edge for what it is that they are trying to achieve.