Pageant Powerhouse

Transgender Woman Crowned Miss Netherlands in Historic Win

A new Miss Netherlands has been crowned and her win is a victory for the transgender community.

On Sunday, Rikkie Valerie Kollé made history as the first openly transgender woman to be named Miss Netherlands. Kollé slayed her fellow competitors and took home the title after being crowned by former Miss Netherlands, Ona Moody. Kollé was also welcomed into the upper echelon of beauty pageants title holders by the reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel from the United States. The 22-year-old was visibly overwhelmed with emotion over her historic win as fellow Miss Netherlands contestants applauded. 

Kollé took to Instagram to share her thoughts on her crowning achievement of becoming Miss Netherlands. In a post showing her receiving the crown from Moody in a stunning red gown, Kollé wrote “I DID IT!!!!! It’s unreal but I can call myself @missnederland 2023. It was an educational and wonderful process, my year can’t go wrong anymore. I am so proud and happy I can’t describe it with. I made my community proud and showed it can be done.”

Kollé continued her post by celebrating herself as a trans woman and stating how she wanted to share her story, but alluded to her trans identity as being one element of who she is. She also thanked the Miss Netherlands organization for her inclusion into the competition. 

“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,” added Kollé. “I want to thank the jury and everyone from the Miss Netherlands team for the trust, this is just the beginning. My dearest fellow finalists, we all put on a show, love you all girls. My dear family and friends, my N1 supporters, you have given me so much extra strength from the hall.”

With her new title, Kollé will move on to compete in Miss Universe pageant, the second openly transgender woman to do so. Angela Ponce, the first openly transgender Miss Spain, competed in 2018 for the coveted title of Miss Universe as the first openly transgender woman to enter the competition. Since 2012, transgender women have been allowed to compete in the pageant, allowing for a new level of inclusion to the 71-year-old competition and bringing trans visibility to major beauty pageants worldwide.

With the updated policy, numerous women have competed under the Miss Universe umbrella, including Jenna Talackova (Canada) and Kataluna Enriquez (USA). Additionally, Daniela Arroyo González will compete next month for the title of Miss Universe Puerto Rico and if she wins, there will be two openly transgender women competing for the Miss Universe title.

Additionally, the Miss Universe organization was famously owned by former U.S. president Donald Trump. However, in 2022, Thai businesswoman Anne Jakrajutatip, who is also a trans woman, bought the organization. With the 2012 policy change and Jakrajutatip at the helm of the organization, the Miss Universe competition is changing the game for transgender women to compete alongside cisgender women. 

With Kollé’s win, she’ll join a list of transgender women who have staked their claim for the title of Miss Universe. The competition will take place in El Salvador in December where 24 contestants will vie for the illustrious crown. Sure, Kollé is enjoying her newfound title, but she has her eye on the prize for another one. If she achieves her goal, she’ll be able to add “first transgender Miss Universe” to her resume. 

“And wherever you are in the world, I want to be there for you and be the example that I myself missed as a little me,” wrote Kollé in her post. “On to many more adventures, let’s get @missuniverse ready. So excited!!!”

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