Trans Miss Netherlands winner wants to ‘thank all the haters’ after historic win

Rikkie Valerie Kollé crowned Miss Netherlands 2023

The first openly trans winner of Miss Netherlands has thanked “the haters” for giving her “a bigger platform” than she could ever have imagined.

Rikkie Valerie Kollé, 22, was awarded the crown last week, with the jury saying she “radiated throughout the show [and had] a strong story with a clear mission”.

Winning was “a spectacular moment” and she was in “full disbelief”, she told Newsweek.

“I am proud, and the night was amazing,” she added.

Kollé told the magazine that she got into pageantry because it gave her “an opportunity to speak” and use her voice: “You can talk about what you want to change in society or what you think you can offer”, she said.

However, she acknowledged that alongside support for her win, there has been a negative backlash online, with people sending her daily messages, wishing her dead and telling her to kill herself.

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“They see us as monsters,” Kollé said, and is taking that as a reason to speak up more for the queer community.

“The only thing I want to say to the haters is, thank you because you’re giving me a bigger platform than I can ever imagine.”

Kollé said she wants to speak up for trans people needing to access gender-affirming healthcare. Waiting lists in the Netherlands are “really, really long”, she said, adding that this had “to change because people need to get help as soon as they can, it’s a necessary thing”.

She went on: “I want to speak up for the trans people who need it, as a little kid I didn’t have someone to look up to. I want to be that role model and inspiration for others.”

Posting on Instagram after her win, Kollé wrote she was “so proud and happy” and described the competition process as “educational and wonderful”.

She said: “I made my community proud and showed it can be done. 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 will now compete in Miss Universe, which will be held in El Salvador in December.

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