Marina Machete makes history as first trans woman to win Miss Portugal

After being crowned Miss Portugal, Marina Machete, a 28-year-old flight attendant, will now compete for the title of Miss Universe.

Contestant in green dress places crown on Marina Machete who makes history as first trans woman to win Miss Portugal
Image: Instagram @missportugaloficial

After competing against 16 other finalists, Marina Machete was crowned Miss Portugal on Thursday, October 6, making her the first-ever transgender woman to win the title.

The 28-year-old has worked as a flight attendant for the past five years, and has passionately advocated for human rights since she was a teenager. She works on social projects to help understand and support the challenges experienced by the transgender community across Portugal.

Prior to the contest, Machete shared on Instagram that she was “Proud to be the first trans woman to compete for the Miss Universe Portugal title,” adding that for many years she “wasn’t eligible to compete and now it’s such an honour to be a part of this incredible group of candidates!”

After winning the title, Marina posted a video on Instagram where she said: “I just want to thank everyone that…has sent me positive and empowering messages… Thank you once again for all of the support, it really means the world to me. And to all of you watching… just like the universe, your possibilities in life are limitless, so don’t limit yourself to any dream that you have.”



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A post shared by Marina Machete (@marinamachetereis)

The Miss Portugal contest has been held annually since 1926, and Marina’s achievement represents tremendous progress toward inclusivity and diversity in an industry that has historically upheld Western beauty ideals and gender standards.

In July, 22-year-old Dutchwoman Rikkie Kolle became the first transgender woman to win Miss Netherlands. She shared with Reuters that she thought the Netherlands would be supportive and accepting, but she received a barrage of hate messages and threats since the historic moment.

She said she plans to ignore the hate and focus on the good things coming her way, adding: “The only thing I want to say to the haters is, thank you because you’re giving me a bigger platform than I can ever imagine.”

Miss Netherlands and Miss Portugal will both compete for the global beauty pageant title of Miss Universe in El Salvador on November 18, 2023.



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A post shared by Ms Portugal ® (@missportugaloficial)

The Miss Universe pageant first began allowing transgender contestants to take part in 2012, and Angela Ponce, Miss Spain, was the first trans woman to compete for the title in 2018.

Last year, the competition was purchased by trans activist and Thai celebrity Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, making her the first woman and first trans person to own the Miss Universe pageant.

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