A glamorous model who emerged as a finalist in a beauty contest in Kazakhstan has revealed that he is a man in a shocking confession that has stumped the judges.

The 22-year-old Ilay Dyagilev fooled organisers by posing as female model Arina Aliyeva – beating as many as 4,000 female applicants – and secured his place in the last stage of the online-only competition after his photo received over 2,000 public votes, according to BBC.

Dyagilev came forward to admit he was not a woman two days after reaching the final, saying the persona of Arina Aliyeva was "a project of my team". He was quoted as saying by BBC, "Many girls think that appearance is the main thing and it is a hard job to be beautiful. But I argued with my friends that even a man could pass as a beautiful woman."

He continued, "I have been in the fashion world since I was 17, posing as a model and creating images. I can transform easily and I only invited a photographer, hairstylist and makeup artist and Arina's image was ready. I was very surprised when I reached the finals."

A post shared by Dyagilev ILay / Дягилев Илай (@vozhzd) on

The Instagram page for Arina Aliyeva has amassed over 4,000 followers and by reaching the finalist stage, Aliyeva was crowned 'Miss Virtual Shymkent' – capital of the South Kazakhstan Region. However the organisers disqualified Aliyeva "for providing unreliable information about herself".

The organisers were reportedly "shocked" by the revelation. The regional title and place in the national final has been passed to Aikerim Temirkhanova. She has scored 1,975 votes in the semi-final compared with 2,012 for the fake Arina Alieva.

According to Daily Mail, Dyagilev decided to tell the organisers of Miss Virtual Kazakhstan about the identity after realising the con had "gone too far".

"I came through to the finale and decided to expose the identity of Arina Alieva when I realised it had gone too far. At the very beginning, there were around 4,000 applications from across Kazakhstan, but I got to the final," the 22-year-old admitted.