World’s third-richest trans woman buys Miss Universe franchise, formerly owned by Donald Trump

Miss Universe contestants

Trans media tycoon Jakapong “Anne” Jakrajutatip has bought the Miss Universe franchise – once owned by Donald Trump – for $20 million.

With Jakrajutatip, CEO of Thai media group JKN and founder of Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation, at the helm, the acquisition marks the first time Miss Universe will be owned by a woman, Reuters reported.

Her company said the acquisition is “a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio”, adding that it plans to expand Miss Universe in Asia.

In a post on Instagram, Jakrajutatip said: “I feel so overwhelmed today by millions of Universe fans.

“Thank you so much everyone once again for your kind messages to me and the JKN Team. We’re so grateful to have all of you as part of our UNIVERSE family.”

Jakrajutatip has been described as the “third-richest” trans woman in the world, with Jennifer Pritzker, CEO of Tawani Enterprises, coming out on top as the world’s “only known transgender billionaire”, according to Forbes.

Ranked on SCMP, actress Laverne Cox, Olympian Caitlyn Jenner, and The Matrix creators The Wachowski Sisters, are among the other richest trans women in the world.

Miss Universe – formerly co-owned by Donald Trump until 2015 – banned trans women from entering until 2012, with its first trans contestant, Ángela Ponce, taking part in 2018.

During her run in 2018 after winning Miss Universe Spain, she said her participation in the annual beauty pageant was a symbol that “trans women are just as much women as cis women”.

‘Trans women can be whatever they want’

Speaking to TIME, Ponce, now 31, said: “I’m showing that trans women can be whatever they want to be: a teacher, a mother, a doctor, a politician and even Miss Universe.”

She added that if she were to win: “More than a message to him [Trump], it would be a win for human rights. Trans women have been persecuted and erased for so long.”

When asked about Trump’s history of anti-LGBTQ+ policies while he was president, including banning trans people from serving in the US military, Ponce added: “I like to think that most people who don’t understand me, it’s not because they’re bad people. It’s because no one taught them about diversity.

“What you don’t talk about doesn’t exist – even though trans people have been here since there were people on earth.”

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