Catriona Gray, 24, finished first ahead of the South African and Venezuelan finalists in the glittering televised event hosted by American comic turned TV host Steve Harvey and supermodel Ashley Graham.
Catriona Gray, Miss Philippines, ultimately took home the night's top prize and while Ponce didn't make the top 20 in Sunday night's competition, her participation in the pageant represents a huge win for the visibility of transgender people on an worldwide scale, something that the contestant addressed in an Instagram post prior to the contest. She also congratulated Catriona Gray, 24, for her win.
Ponce didn't make the competition's top 20 but was still grateful to be there.
Miss Philippines was crowned Miss Universe on Monday in Bangkok after a trailblazing ceremony praised for featuring its first transgender candidate but marred by gaffes about the English-speaking ability of two Asian contestants. I am going really fast'. She said that this year's Miss Universe would be a victory for human rights.
The organization has allowed transgender participation since 2012. She was selected by an all-female panel of judges, which included Monique Lhuillier and past Miss Universe winners. "She is that voice for the transgender community".
"I only need to be here", she said. "If they give me the crown, it would show trans women are just as much women as cis women".
"I'm competing because it's what I've wanted to do since I was a little girl", Ponce told Time before the pageant on Sunday.
She participated in the Miss World Spain 2015 pageant where she represented Cadiz.