History is made as first transgender woman crowned Miss Netherlands

July 11, 2023
Rikkie Valerie Kollé poses with her co-competitors after being crowned Miss Netherlands
Rikkie Valerie Kollé poses with her co-competitors after being crowned Miss Netherlands

AMSTERDAM — A transgender woman has made history in the Netherlands, winning the country’s beauty pageant for the first time.

Model Rikkie Valerie Kollé clinched the top title of Miss Netherlands contest on Sunday 9 July in the town of Leusden.

Judges commented that the 22-year-old had impressed them with her "iron strong story" and "clear mission".

Hailing from Breda in the south of the Netherlands, Kollé is the first transgender winner in the competition's 94-year history.

Following the triumph, she qualified to compete in the Miss Universe competition, to be held in El Salvador in December.

Kollé is only the second ever openly transgender competitor in the competition's history, after Spanish model Angela Ponce in 2018.

Ahead of her win, Kollé spoke about her struggles over coming out as transgender, but added: “Through my commitment and strength, I hope to bring about change in society".

Transgender contestants have been officially able to compete in the Miss Universe pageant since 2012, when it was still owned by former US President Donald Trump.

It’s now owned by Thai businesswoman and reality star Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip -- who is herself transgender.

According to Forbes, she’s the third richest trans person in the world. She bought the JKN Global Group in 2022 - the umbrella company of Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA beauty pageant organisations.

Following the purchase, Jakrajutatip promised "not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation". — Euronews

July 11, 2023
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