updated 24 Dec 2010, 09:38
user id password
Thu, Sep 30, 2010
The New Paper
Email Print Decrease text size Increase text size
S'pore born wins Aussie beauty contest
by Charlene Chua

HERE is a little-known fact - the winner of Miss Transsexual Australia 2010, Australia's first transgender beauty pageant - used to live near Orchard Road.

Ms Chelsey Mikimoto was born in Singapore to a Malay-Dutch mother and a Chinese- Japanese father.

She migrated with her family to Australia in the mid-90s at age 10.

Now an Australian, the show producer, illusionist and cabaret performer - her productions include Divas Of Asia, Shanghai Follies and Tiger Lilies - resides in Melbourne.

Ms Mikimoto, who is in her 20s, told The New Paper: "I was born to a family of conservative, working professional parents.

"However, they have since accepted me and are proud that I am a filial daughter and have a successful career."


Of her experience in the pageant, she said: "It was humbling...meeting beautiful and talented people who feel that there is a place in society for transsexuals."

Ms Mikimoto, who speaks fluent English, Mandarin and Cantonese, added that it was the pageant's organiser who had approached her to take part in the competition.

People she worked with in the entertainment sector also egged her on.

However, she admitted that she never thought she would win.

After all, that vision seemed so far away from the life she once led here.

"I grew up in a middle-class suburb close to the city where Nintendo games, music videos and superbikes were all the rage.

"Life then consisted of hot, balmy mornings listening to my neighbour's piano recital a few doors away and watching my neighbours' maids accompany their children to school."

Although born biologically male, Ms Mikimoto said that she never identified with being one.

Growing up, she liked girlie things.

She dreamed of parading in beautiful gowns and experimented with her mother's make-up and clothes.

One Christmas, she placed her name on the Barbie doll meant for a female cousin.

School, however, was an all-boys primary school here before the family moved to Australia.

Her fond memories of Singapore include sunny afternoons at Sentosa, watching uniform-clad national servicemen strolling with their girlfriends along Orchard Road and eating at Newton Hawker Centre.

But it wasn't always a walk in the park where her parents were concerned.

When they first learnt that she had the desire to be a woman, her mother broke down.

Her father, she said, was more accepting of the news.

"They did call me the next day and asked me what they could do for me.

I told them not to worry.

"All in all, it took them six months to come to terms with it. I finally went for a sex-change operation two years ago."

She had visited a psychiatrist who diagnosed her with gender identity dysphoria - a condition in which individuals identify emotionally and psychologically with the other gender.

For five years before the surgery, she lived as a woman.

During that time, she underwent hormone replacement therapy to feminise her facial and bodily features.

Other than physical changes, she also took the time to "greatly reflect" on what it meant to have the gender change.

Now, when Ms Mikimoto visits Singapore, she will proudly do so as a bona fide beauty queen.

She said that she no longer has any relatives living here.

She has also lost touch with her schoolmates here since she moved to Australia.

"Each time I return to Singapore, I notice (there are) more skycrapers and shopping centres.

"Also, many of the stalls that I used to frequent at Newton Hawker Centre have all moved."

readers' comments

Copyright © 2010 Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Co. Regn. No. 198402868E. All rights reserved.