Melbourne, Australia – Three beauties of Filipino heritage will be competing in the Miss Gay and Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018 beauty pageant in Melbourne later this month.

Michelle Binas, Michelle Montecarlo and Serinna Rivera will go head to head with 18 other transgender contestants for the Miss Transsexual Australia International crown at St Kilda Town Hall on January 27, as part of Midsumma Festival.

Binas, a four-time beauty queen and animal rights supporter from Mandayulong province, is working towards her dream of becoming a successful entrepreneur.

A business administration graduate, she strongly believes in lifelong learning and has completed fashion design, fashion merchandising and fashion styling courses to help build her self-esteem.

She has been preparing to compete in the pageant since 2016 and hopes her motivation to win the title will inspire others to live their dreams.

Montecarlo is a university professor-turned-entrepreneur, six-time beauty queen and anti-bullying advocate from Laguna province who is completing her PhD in communications.

She was bullied as a child and experienced overt discrimination while employed as a professor in the language department of a well-known university in the Philippines and worked as a geisha in Nagoya, Japan for 15 years.

Baguio-born Rivera is a commercial cookery student, a graduate of the Fashion Institute of the Philippines, pageant aficionado and 23-time beauty queen who moved to Palawan when she was 10 years old.

A 2017 finalist of Miss Transsexual Australia International, she hopes to be second time lucky for the crown title so she can use the pageant to promote anti-violence towards women, particularly transgender women.

Entrants for the Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018 crown will compete alongside their Miss Gay Australia International 2018 counterparts.

Pageant founder and director, Gayzha Davao, said, “Now in its ninth year, Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018 continues to represent the pride, diversity and stories of our contestants, who come from different races, cultural backgrounds and languages such as Australia, India, Indonesia, Iran, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Venezuela.

“Since our inaugural launch in 2010, the pageant has been a powerful stage for drag queens and transgender women to express their self-identity, showcase their talents and promote equality for LGBTQIA+ people in the wider community.

“As we continue to grow with the generous support of contestants, partners, the media and the public, Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International will continue to promote the culture of giving back to the community.”

Contestants will be judged in five categories: costume, evening wear, swimwear (Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018), talent (Miss Gay Australia International 2018) and interview (both as a male and in drag for Miss Gay Australia International 2018).

Chair of the judging panel, and, pageant marketing, communication and public relations director, Chelsey Mikimoto, said it was important for contestants to have an inner beauty package that complements their outer beauty.

“True beauty comes from within,” said Mikimoto, the inaugural Miss Transsexual Australia International titleholder in 2010 and regular pageant judge.

“The recipe for true beauty requires these ingredients: to be able to put others before yourself; a positive attitude to life; good values and manners; a strong mind and common sense; and a warm heart and compassion.

“During the course of Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International, contestants must display confidence, leadership qualities and be able to empower others. They must show that beauty is more than just a perfectly made-up face, glamorous costumes and strong stage presence.”

Leading entertainers from Australia’s LGBTQIA+ community will perform at the four-hour stage event, while a panel of judges from the business, arts entertainment, fashion and beauty industries will pick the winners.

Miss Gay & Miss Transsexual Australia International 2018 is supported by Kamol Cosmetic Hospital, Alexi Darling Management, Bute Lighting, Duxton Allcare, Judicate Lawyers, The House of Sofiya, House of Priscilla, Charismatico Dancewear, Gage Roads Brewing Co., Salon Shique, Haigh’s Chocolates, The Famous Arthur Daley’s, Turtle Cove Beach Resort, Ladyboy Dining & Bar, Creative Wigs, McGrath Estate Agents and Care Builders Group.

For more information about the pageant, visit: https://www.mgmtaus.com.

The public can purchase tickets to see the new ‘Miss Transsexual Australia International’ crowned at: https://midsumma.org.au/program/mgamt18.

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