First trans woman crowned winner of Miss Netherlands

Rikkie Valerie Kollé crowned Miss Netherlands 2023

Rikkie Valerie Kollé has been crowned Miss Netherlands 2023, making her the first trans woman to take home the competition’s title. 

Twenty-two-year-old Kollé, who lives in Breda, was awarded the crown at the AFAS Theater in Leusden on Saturday (8 July). 

Wearing a fitted red gown slit above her thigh, the new Miss Netherlands received her crown from previous winner Ona Moody and reigning Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel from the USA. 

“I DID IT!!!!! 👑❤️,” Kollé wrote on Instagram following her win, “It’s unreal but I can call myself @missnederland 2023.” 

She described the competition process as “educational and wonderful” and said she is “so proud and happy” following her win. 

“I made my community proud and showed it can be done.

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“And yes I am a trans woman and I would like to share my story, but I am also Rikkie and that is what counts for me. I did this on my own strength and enjoyed every moment.” 

Kollé thanked her fellow contestants, the jury and wider Miss Netherlands team, saying her win was “just the beginning”.

Commenting on the outcome, the competition’s official Instagram page shared a picture of Kollé in her crown and holding a bouquet of flowers, writing: “The jury report reads: this finalist has radiated throughout the show and has also made the greatest progress in the process. 

“She has a strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organisation will enjoy working with this young woman. 

“Miss Netherlands 2023 is … RIKKIE”

The win will see Kollé go on to compete in Miss Universe 2023, which will be held in El Salvador in December. 

An exact date for the event has yet to be confirmed but will see contestants from 24 countries come together to fight for the title of Miss Universe. 

In 2022, trans businesswoman Anne Jakrajutatip, CEO of Thai media group JKN and founder of Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation, bought the Miss Universe franchise – which was previously owned (both in part and in full) by indicted former US president Donald Trump from 1996 to 2015.

Delivering a rousing speech at the 71st Miss Universe competition in New Orleans in January, Jakrajutatip said: “It has been 70 years that [the] Miss Universe organisation has been run by men. 

“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.”

She added that “diverse cultures, social inclusion, gender equality [and] creativity” could be “a force for good”.

“[On] this stage, called Miss Universe competition, we can elevate all women to feel strong enough, good enough, qualified enough.” Trans women were banned from competing until 2012, with Ángela Ponce being the first trans woman to take part in 2018.

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