Twenty-year old Kevin Balot, a nursing graduate from the Philippines, won the prestigious Miss International Queen, the worldwide pageant of transgenders and transvestites in Pattaya.
Kevin was also voted Ms Photogenic according to pageant organisers Tiffany Show and Piton Communications. Jessika Simoes of Brazil won 1st runner-up while Thailand’s Panvilas Mongkol was 2nd runner-Up.
The yearly event held at the resort city of Pattaya, Thailand, on Nov 2, was aired live on Thai television and watched by millions. An offshoot of Tiffany Show Pattaya, a cabaret show, Miss International Queen has grown into one of the most popular pageants in Thailand and has attracted international media coverage.
It is also dubbed as the Miss Universe for transvestites and transgenders, whose aim is to empower transgenders, promote GLBT rights and provide a venue for showcasing their talents.
The pageant has also launched the careers of several winners including Ai Haruna and Treechayada 'Poy' Malayaporn, who has become mainstream actresses and models in Japan and Thailand respectively.
According to organisers, the parents and sister of Kevin surprised him by flying in from Manila to Thailand to watch him compete and win the pageant. His mother was so proud she wanted to immediately join and congratulate him onstage after the pageant.
Kevin, who dreams of becoming a flight attendant, said he was proud to be the first Filipino to win the almost decade-long pageant, which has been dominated by winners from Thailand, USA and Japan. Three other Filipinos joined the pageant. One of them was Stefania Cruz, who won Miss Ripley’s Popular Vote.
Other Special Awards Winners:
Best Evening Gown – Sunny Dee-Lite (United States)
Miss Congeniality – Noah Herrera (Venezuela)
Miss National Costume – Yuki Tachibana (Japan)
The Angel Talent Competition – Beni Tukishima (Japan)
Miss Perfect Skin By Asoke Skin Hospital – Matricia Mae Centino (Guam)