‘Good genes,’ not surgery, helped Balot win Miss International Queen


It wasn’t cosmetic surgery that gave Kevin Balot the looks he needed to win the Miss International Queen transgender beauty pageant. They secret, the 21-year-old Filipino said, was “good genes.”

“I am lucky and have good genes that make me look like a girl: a small nose, small hands and feet and also my Adam’s apple is not well developed,” he said in an interview with the Pattaya Mail. “Maybe it’s because I started taking female hormones when I was 17. I developed breasts, which are not as big as artificial ones, but look very female indeed.”

The three beauty queens visit to say thanks to Pattaya Mail. The three beauty queens visit to say thanks to Pattaya Mail.

Balot and runners-up Simoes from Brazil and Thailand’s Panvilas Mongkol called on Pattaya Mail Publishing Co. Nov. 9 to thank the management for their sponsorship of the pageant. In interviews, all three beauty queens said that the contest illustrates the problems transgenders have to overcome and raises awareness amongst “normal” people about their struggles.

Of the three, only the Thai contestant, who also won the Miss Tiffany Universe title and finished third in the international competition, has undergone gender-altering surgery. Balot and Simoes remain male, at least in anatomy, if not in name as well.

Balot said he has no plans to change “Kevin,” to a female moniker.

“It’s the name my parents gave me and I believe that the name you receive at birth is significant for the rest of your life,” he said. “I am very spiritual and believe one shouldn’t make such a drastic change. I didn’t undergo a sexual change as well so far and I will carefully think about it before I make a decision.”

Balot, who even at close range appears very feminine, said he entered the pageant “only for fun” and never believed he’d be the first Filipino to win a Miss International Queen title.

“Now I am more than happy, especially because my father accepts his only son as what I am,” he said. “When I called him after my victory he said he was very proud of me and that I looked absolutely beautiful. That made me happier than everything else.”

Third-place finisher Panvilas, who won the Miss Tiffany Universe title earlier this year, said she was proud to make the final 10 at the international pageant. She said she never expected to win, given that Thailand took the title last year.

Panvilas described the preparation for the contest, choosing the meklha dance for the talent competition and the Nang Visakha dress for national costume. The main problem she said she faced was language.