Beach shots depict her as a curvaceous beauty queen. But 23-year-old Jenna Talackova was born male and that has led organisers to disqualify her as a finalist in the 61st Miss Universe Canada pageant.
The Vancouver woman underwent a sex change four years ago. But the rules of the contest, run by the Donald Trump organisation, say entrants must be "naturally born" females.
"She did not meet the requirements to compete despite having stated otherwise on her entry form," a statement from Miss Universe Canada said. "We do, however, respect her goals, determination and wish her the best."
The disqualification last week has won Ms Talackova, who is seeking legal advice, widespread sympathy and raised the question of whether the pageant has the right to decide who is female. Her change of gender was hardly a secret before the event – in 2010 she competed in the Tiffany Miss International Queen Competition for transgender and transsexual women in Pattaya, Thailand.
In an interview for that pageant, she said she had lived as a female since four, began hormone therapy at 14 and changed sex at 19.
"I regard myself as a woman with a history," she said.