A transgender woman has been crowned Miss Netherlands for the first time in Dutch history and is now set to compete for the Miss Universe crown. Rikkie Valerie Kolle, 22, achieved the remarkable feat by emerging victorious in the Dutch competition on Sunday.
The recently crowned Miss Netherlands, donning a stunning red dress, was visibly moved as she received her crown from the outgoing titleholder, Ona Moody, and the reigning Miss Universe, R'Bonney Gabriel, representing the USA. The beauty pageant winner is from Breda and aspires to become a voice and role model for the queer community, according to a World360news report.
Rikkie Valerie Kolle proudly held a bouquet of flowers to celebrate her victory amid the applause of her fellow contestants. Following her win, she enthusiastically expressed her achievement on Twitter, exclaiming, "I DID IT!"
Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador in December, although a specific date has not yet been announced, and feature women from 24 different nations competing for the title.
Kolle, the newly crowned Miss Netherlands, will make history as the second transgender woman to participate in the Miss Universe competition. Her inclusion in the prestigious pageant represents a significant milestone in promoting inclusivity and diversity within the beauty industry.
Nathalie Mogbelzada, a 26-year-old from Amsterdam, was crowned the first runner-up at the pageant. Habiba Mostafa and Lou Dirchs won the titles of Miss Congeniality and Miss Social Media, respectively.
The event took place at the AFAS Theater in Leusden and was graced by the presence of the renowned Miss Universe, R'Bonney Gabriel, adding to the excitement and prestige of the occasion.
Following her win, Rikkie Valerie Kollé also faced criticism on social media, with some users misgendering her by referring to her as male. Many also expressed their dissatisfaction with the inclusion of transitioned biological males in beauty pageants, raising concerns about the representation of women.
Changing Face of Beauty Pageants
In 2018, Angela Ponce from Spain made history as the first transgender woman to participate in the renowned Miss Universe pageant.
Reflecting on her journey, she expressed her disbelief in reaching the final stage, stating that she could have never envisioned such an accomplishment.
It is worth noting that transgender contestants have been eligible to compete for the Miss Universe crown since 2012.
Anne Jakrajutatip, a Thai businesswoman and advocate, acquired ownership of the Miss Universe organization in October 2022. Notably, she identifies as transgender.
Prior to her ownership, the pageant system was under the ownership of former US president Donald Trump.
Jakrajutatip has pledged to uphold the pageant's tradition of empowering women and has expressed her commitment to evolving the brand to resonate with the upcoming generation.
Earlier this year, Daniela Arroyo González, an openly transgender individual, was chosen to participate in the Puerto Rico competition. Her selection marked a significant step towards inclusivity and representation in the pageant, as she brought her unique perspective and experiences to the forefront.