Miss Tiffany Universe started in 1998 as a way of helping increase acceptance for Thailand's large transgender population. Alisa Phanthusak, the pageant chair, started Miss Tiffany after seeing how difficult life was for transgender people in Thailand. Many of them were forced into the sex trade after being blocked from other fields of work, and they face widespread stereotypes, like the idea that transgender individuals have violent tempers. 

This year, there are 100 contestants who will compete for 30 spots in the show's final rounds in March. You can see photos from last year's contest, including winner Sopida Siriwatananukul, below. 

Over the 18 years since the pageant first began, the pageant's organizers have already seen cultural changes. According to Phanthusak, "At first, most of the contestants were in the show or in the sex business....But now, since 18 years ago, when we began, we have mostly university students. More and more they want to try hard — not only beauty but also getting their degrees."

Best of luck to this year's contestants!