Kylan Wenzel, who is competing to become Miss California, says she has dreamed of this moment since she was 11.

The 26-year-old Wenzel appeared Friday on Anderson Live to discuss being Miss USA's first transgender contestant after the pageant changed its rules in April.

“This has been a dream since I was 11,” she told host Anderson Cooper. “So I kind of just put it out to the universe and hoping it would happen. And then it happened. So I moved my surgery up six months, I resigned from my job. Ever since then I've been just working on hoping to become Miss California.”

“I've always felt like I was a girl,” Wenzel said in response to Cooper's question on when she began to feel that she was a woman. “It took a little longer for me to process it. But yes, I was definitely a woman.” (The video is embedded on this page. Visit our video library for more videos.)

Wenzel is among the 229 women who will compete on Saturday, January 12 for a chance to become one of the 20 contestants who will go on to compete in the final show the following day.