Transgender model to represent the Netherlands in 72nd Miss Universe pageant
MANILA, Philippines — Another transgender woman will compete in the Miss Universe pageant after Angela Ponce from Spain made history for trans visibility in 2018.
Transgender model Rikkie Valerie Kolle was crowned Miss Nederland on July 8 (July 9 in Manila) and will represent the Western European country in the global tilt’s 72nd edition in El Salvador later this year.
The Amsterdam-based Kolle, 22, edged out eight other aspirants to inherit the national title from last year’s winner Ona Moody. She is the first transgender woman to win the crown.
“The finalist shined throughout the show, and has also made the greatest progress along the way,” the Miss Nederland pageant quoted the jury report on a Facebook post after Kolle’s coronation.
“She has an iron strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organization will enjoy working with this young woman,” the national pageant organization continued in its Facebook post.
Although the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) had allowed transgender women to take part in the competition for more than a decade already, Ponce was only the first to successfully earn a national title and make it to the international stage.
In 2012, transgender model Jenna Talackova was accepted in the Miss Universe Canada pageant, and finished in the Top 20. In 2021, Filipino-American transgender model Kataluna Enriquez won the Miss Nevada USA title, and competed in the Miss USA pageant.
Miss Universe Philippines (MUPH) National Director Shamcey Supsup-Lee said in an earlier interview that she will allow transgender applicants in the national pageant “as long as they have legal documents to prove they are now female and they already underwent gender reassignment.”
But with no existing law recognizing the preferred gender of transgender individuals in the Philippines, Lee’s statement effectively bears no merit. However, two Miss Universe Philippines titleholders have openly admitted to being part of the LGBTQIA+ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, intersex, asexual, and others) community.
Beatrice Luigi Gomez shared her story of being in a long-term relationship with a woman when she joined the national pageant’s second edition in 2021. She won the national title and later finished in the Top 5 of the 70th Miss Universe pageant held in Israel.
Reigning Miss Universe Philippines Michelle Marquez Dee also revealed in a magazine interview published in May that she identifies as bisexual. She came out after some netizens shared old photos of her online showing her with another woman while dressed up in a seemingly masculine attire.
“This is a phase in my life that I’ve worked to keep in the past just because I feel that it doesn’t represent who I am now—the short hair, the sense of style, ‘nene’ look, all of that. When I decided to rebrand myself entering college, I had already archived all of that,” she said in the interview.
“I want to come out with this story because I know that those photos were spread with malicious intent…when somebody takes away your story, then you should take control of that narrative. Turn it around and make it an empowering story,” Dee continued.
Dee and Kolle will compete in the 2023 Miss Universe pageant where Filipino-American R’Bonney Gabriel will crown her successor for the global title. A transgender woman currently owns MUO, Thai media mogul Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, who acquired the organization in full late last year. EDV
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