First openly lesbian finalist crowned at Ms World International Pageant: ‘Yes… I cried’

Emma Jay Webber has made history as the first openly lesbian finalist of an international pageant.

A single mum-of-two from Bristol has this week become the first openly lesbian finalist of an international pageant.

Emma-Jay Webber, 41, was in Miami, Florida this month competing in the Ms World International Pageant.

Not only did Webber place fourth runner-up at the coveted competition, but she was also crowned Ms World International Woman – the title reserved for the beauty queen who promotes body positivity and diversity.

Sharing the thrilling moment to Instagram for fans following the competition, she wrote: “The moment you get crowned the Ms World International Woman title.

“I also placed Ms World International 4th runner up.

“Forever grateful. Yes… I cried.”

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Throughout her journey, Webber has dedicated her platform to amplifying LGBTQ+ issues.

Placing as a finalist, especially in Florida, was no small feat for Webber, who is well aware of the hostile and severe conditions that other LGBTQ+ people are facing under governor Ron DeSantis.

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“If my children went to school in Florida, they would not be able to speak about my own existence as their mother because of the Don’t Say Gay bill,” Webber told LGBTQ+ Nation ahead of the pageant.

Anti-LGBTQ+ policies and laws have been so restrictive in Florida and other Republican states that many members of the community and their families have fled in search of safer communities.

So when she learned she’d be showing up to the international stage smack-bang in the middle of Florida, Webber knew she had to pull out all the stops to represent the community.

And it certainly paid off in an emotional climax that saw Webber presented with a crown and sash as she accepted the international title of Ms World International Woman.

“To be there as a finalist is making history in itself. But to actually win it. I don’t think there has been an LGBTQ individual to win any major pageant globally,” she told ITV after returning home from the whirlwind trip.

“What I’ve done shows that as an LGBTQ+ woman, you can follow your dreams and achieve anything.

“I was in Florida as an LGBTQ+ woman- you can do anything you like regardless of your background.”
The forklift truck driver first made headlines back in March 2023 when she became the first openly lesbian Miss Great Britain finalist.

After the win, Webber admitted that she almost fell headfirst into the world of pageantry after struggling with her self-esteem.

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“I googled how to improve your self-esteem and saw an ad on Instagram for Miss British Beauty Curve… I loved the fact there were women on stage who looked like me, she told Yahoo at the time.

“With everything happening in the world, and the massive increase in hate crimes against LGBTQ+ people, I thought this has to be the next step. I need to take this platform to the world stage and use it as a huge megaphone.”

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