13-01-17 Pic of Jo Rojas, Miss Transsexual 2015, from Deer Park. Photo by Damjan Janevski.

Deer Park’s Jo Rojas was crowned Miss Transsexual Australia in 2015, and has returned this year as an organiser and host of the 2017 competition. She spoke to Ewen McRae


What’s your connection to Brimbank?


I live in Deer Park, so I consider Brimbank my home now.


What do you like best about the area?


I try to stay fit and I love to do my cardio, so I would have to say that we’ve got some of the best parks and reserves around Deer Park.


What could make the area better?


For me, it’s not the area that really needs to get better. I believe we just need more activities, to get people more involved in community building.


What are your favourite places to go eat?


I love going to Brimbank shopping centre. It’s got most of my favourite stores and, as a person who loves eating, I’m always at the food court.


What was it like winning Miss Transsexual Australia 2015, and how was your year as reigning champ?


I just finished uni when I was preparing for the pageant, so it was just unexpected and surreal. Winning the 2015 pageant was really rewarding because I got so much media exposure that made the pageant even bigger in the succeeding years, and I got involved in so many LGBTQI activities around Victoria. I was also able to help my chosen charity, which is Y-Gender, and it felt really good to be involved with LGBTQI youth.


What excites you about this year’s event, and being an organiser and host?


It’s my first time hosting the pageant; I’m more excited than nervous because I know most of the girls, and it’s always fun to be around positive and vibrant people. It’s really exciting this year because the number of Miss Transsexual Australia candidates doubled, so expect the competition to be fiercer than previous years. In addition, the Miss Gay contestants are going to give diva impersonations and it’s always a pleasure to see the uber-talented drag queens in action.


You have recently been to Bangkok for your operation, how has that impacted your life and your career as a nurse?


I’m a plastics and vascular nurse and I’m always exposed to confronting situations … I was born ready, so it’s been very fulfilling. My family and co-workers have been very supportive.


What would people be surprised to know about you?


(That) I am such a huge Disney fan … one of my life goals is to visit all the Disneyland resorts in the world and so far I’ve been to two, so four more to go. I’m just such a nerd when I’m not in my beauty queen mode, and yes, no-one’s too old for Disney.