Trans Miss Universe owner gives rousing speech about turning ‘pain into power’

A still from the 71st Miss Universe pageant shows the franchise's owner, a trans woman called Jakkaphong "Anne" Jakrajutatip wearing a silver dress and holding a microphone standing on a stage with the "Miss Universe New Orleans" logo showing in the background

The owner of the Miss Universe franchise, Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, explained how she turned “pain into power” at the annual pageant.

The 71st Miss Universe pageant concluded on Saturday (14 January) in New Orleans, with the current Miss USA, R’Bonney Gabriel, taking the crown.

The highlight for many was Jakrajutatip’s empowering speech, her first since taking over the organisation in 2022, in which she ushered in a “new era”.

“It has been 70 years that [the] Miss Universe organisation has been run by men,” said Jakrajutatip, a businesswoman and one of the richest trans people on Earth.

“But now, time is up. [Now] is the moment, really, for women to take the lead.

“From now on it’s gonna be run by women, owned by a trans woman, for all women around the world to celebrate the power of feminism.”

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She continued: “Diverse cultures social inclusion, gender equality, [and] creativity,” could be “a force for good”.

Jakrajutatip referenced the pain and bullying she experienced during childhood, saying that said she “chose not to surrender”.

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“I turned pain into power and I turned life lessons into wisdom,” she added.

“[On] this stage, called Miss Universe competition, we can elevate all women to feel strong enough, good enough, qualified enough.”

Jakrajutatip purchased the Miss Universe franchise, which at one point, was co-owned by Donald Trump, for $20 million (just over £16 million) in 2022.

The Thai businesswoman is also the CEO of JKN Global Group and is the founder and director of “Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation”, a charity organisation that advocates for transgender rights in Thailand.

Gabriel – the pageant’s winner – said that she would demonstrate how inclusive Miss Universe is by being a “transformational leader”.

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