From Boy To Beauty Queen

Camille Anderson: "There are a lot of people who will hate, so you have to stay strong."

On her first full day in Thailand to fulfill her lifelong dream of competing in an international beauty pageant, Camille Anderson wrapped a day of glamorous photo shoots and returned to her hotel room.

Camille burst into tears. “Maybe it was all too much”

Twenty-five years earlier she had been Mark, an effeminate boy trying on his mother’s clothes in a small city in the Philippines.

Now she was Camille, a grown woman preparing to represent the United States in Miss International Queen, the leading global pageant for transgender women, where she was competing against two dozen beauty queens from around the world.

She was jet-lagged and fighting a cold. Sure, she’d won beauty pageants back home in Los Angeles, but this was another level.

The other contestants all looked gorgeous. “I felt nervous and intimidated,” Anderson said.

That was nine days ago. Now, on the night eve of the pageant, she feels more optimistic about her chances.

“You walk in heels day and night. It’s like a test,” she told CNN. “But you have to be able to handle this because you’re going to be in the spotlight. Whatever happens, this is an experience I will never forget.”

Don’t ask, don’t tell’

Childhood in Tacloban City, Philippines, was a confusing time for the boy known as Mark Cordeta.

As a young transgendered youth, Camille preferred playing with girls and dressing as her inner self. By age 8 or 9 she was sneaking into his mom’s closets to try on her heels or bras.

“I always felt like I was different,” Anderson said this week.

Her devoutly Catholic family knew she was different, too. They thought I was a male gay. But nobody really talked about it.

“It was like a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ thing. I was always afraid of what my family would say, and what other people would say.”

Camille Anderson, looking red carpet-ready in a slinky blue gown.

So to minimize being bullied at school Camille buried her true self and tried to act like a straight male.

It was not until Camille immigrated to the United States at age 21 did she begin to show more of her true self in public.  Two years later, she began transitioning the outside to match the inner side and became her true self a woman. It was a gradual, pricey and painful process.

Eventually, she began hormone treatments and had breast implants. And the once named Mark became the true self Kim, complete with a legal name change.

The transition created some distance at first between Kim and her parents, who by then were divorced and living in Los Angeles. She found herself acting differently around them than with her friends.

“I felt like I was living two lives,” said Anderson, who asked to be identified by her pageant name. But they adjusted and became supportive.

In 2013 Anderson married her boyfriend, Marco Hudec, in a glamorous outdoor ceremony.  He was the one who encouraged her to compete in beauty pageants.

“I never had the confidence (before),” said Anderson, who now lives in Torrance, California, and works as a registered nurse. “He believes in me more than I believe in myself.”

Camille proved to be a natural. Within two years she had won three local and national pageants: Miss Los Angeles Pride 2014, Queen USA 2014 and Queen of the Universe 2015.

She got to meet Caitlyn Jenner. And her previous crowns qualified her for the big one. It was time to go to Thailand for Miss International Queen.

‘I don’t want to be an activist’

For the uninitiated, pageants for transgender women are not that different from other beauty pageants.

There’s an evening gown competition and a swimsuit competition, and finalists are as

Miss International Queen contestants must also wear costumes representing their home countries. Anderson favors this winged patriotic number.

Miss International Queen contestants must also wear costumes representing their home countries. Anderson favors this winged patriotic number.

There is one key difference, though. Most traditional beauty queens haven’t faced discrimination, or worse.

“Many of the contestants have had trouble being accepted by their families. So we’re trying to bring up their self-esteem,” said Alisa Phanthusak, chair of Miss International Queen’s pageant committee.

“It’s not just beauty we are looking for. It’s confidence.

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 Miss International Queen, held annually since 2004 in Pattaya City on Thailand’s coast, is open to female contestants between the ages of 18 and 36 who were born male.

They must represent either the country of their birth or the one listed on their passport.

Gender-reassignment surgery is not required, and most contestants haven’t done it. Anderson is considering the surgery but hasn’t made up her mind.

Winners of Miss International Queen have gone on to movie, TV and singing careers in Asia and elsewhere.

The only past American winner, Mimi Marks, has been a regular at the Baton, a drag club in Chicago.

So how did Camille do, well watch the full pageant and see? We have provided the link in the first paragraph of this article. It is a great show so do not miss it.

We have provided the link below. In the Miss International Queen, they crown for the previous year, not the current year. You may think this was last years show but in fact, it is the pageant held this week in 2017. It is a great show so do not miss it.

Booty Garland for Spy Hollywood.com

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