Anne Jakrajutatip cites changes for Miss Universe 2023: No males ogling women in dressing rooms
Miss Universe Organization (MUO) owner Anne Jakrajutatip is continuing to break more ground as she promises “a lot of changes” in the upcoming 72nd edition of the pageant in November. For one, she said that there will be no males “eyeing down women in the dressing room.”
In an article that she wrote for New York-based Cosmopolitan magazine on Oct. 9, The Thai business mogul spoke of her plans that she wanted to effectuate come November 18, which include a deviation from the tradition of the decades-old tilt.
“You’re going to see a lot of changes. For starters, we’ve opened the competition to all women between the ages of 18 and 28, including those who were previously excluded, like women with children and those who are pregnant, married, or divorced,” she said.
Recently, the organization opened its doors to women of all shapes and manners, scrapping the age limit, starting in 2024, a revolutionizing move that made the pageant the most inclusive international competition. On top of this, the MUO had began accepting transgender applicants since 2012.
For this upcoming pageant, Jakrajutatip said candidates may choose their own swimwear for the swimsuit competition, while the organization allots more time in broadcast for audience to hear about the candidates as “people, instead of just focusing on their looks.”
“My Miss Universe recognizes that beauty is both external and internal… We’re taking small steps away from the male gaze, and each day on the job, I’m learning how to take more of them,” she further said.
She noted that while the swimsuit competition would not be removed, there will no longer be eliminations during that round, but instead, “contestants may choose their own bathing suit styles — versus being forced to wear bikinis. They would also wear capes over them, decorated with art that represents their countries.”
Amid all these changes, Jakrajutatip gave assurance that she will be fully in control.
“The first Miss Universe pageant fully under my control will be the 72nd competition, taking place later this year in El Salvador. And you’re going to see a lot of changes,” she was quoted as saying, while adding it’s taking “small steps away” from the male gaze.
“We’re widening our background checks (trust me, there will no longer be male leaders eyeing down delegates in the dressing room), and in addition to our all-female leadership team, our hosts and most judges are also women. The latter are CEOs, scientists, politicians, you name it—powerful and impressive in their own right,” she further said.
Jakrajutatip said that before she got onboard the MOU, she found it a bit odd that it was men who were running the show for an organization that is exclusively for women.
“I mean, why was an organization that claimed to be about female empowerment owned exclusively by men? I wanted to create something that was run by women for women—not something for men to ogle over,” said the 44-year-old CEO of Thailand-based JKN Global Group which acquired “100 percent” of the MUO in October 2022.
Meanwhile, Jakrajutatip also hinted that the pageant’s social media platforms will feature tips catering to mostly female audience on “how to live their best, most authentic lives.”
“[It will include] important intel on bettering health, careers, family, confidence, money management, and more. I’d love to help make a positive impact as we continue to grow our community,” she said. “And just like I did with my self-identity, I’m going to change the Miss Universe Organization into what it was always meant to be: a celebration honoring all women and a safe space for everyone to be the strongest, most powerful versions of themselves.”
During the 71st Miss Universe coronation last January, she declared that the global tilt will be created for “all women around the world to celebrate the power of feminism, diverse cultures, social inclusion, gender equality, creativity, a force for good, and the beauty of humanity.”
For the 2023 Miss Universe pageant, its 72nd edition, transgender woman Rikkie Valerie Kolle will represent the Netherlands. There are also two mothers who will participate—Michelle Cohn from Guatemala, and Camila Avella from Colombia.
The 72nd Miss Universe pageant will be held in El Salvador, where delegates from 90 countries will compete. EDV