Rikkie Valerie Kollé has been crowned Miss Netherlands 2023, making her the first trans woman to take home the pageant’s title.
22-year-old Kollé, who lives in Breda, was presented with the crown on Saturday (July 8) at the AFAS Theater in Leusden.
Wearing a tight-fitting red dress slit over the thigh, the new Miss Netherlands received her crown from former winner Ona Moody and reigning Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel of the USA.
“I DID IT!!!!! 👑❤️,” Kollé wrote on Instagram after 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” after her win.
“I made my community proud and showed that it can be done.
“And yes, I’m a trans woman and I want to share my story, but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what counts for me. I did this on my own strength and enjoyed every moment.”
Kollé thanked her fellow contestants, the jury and the wider Miss Netherlands team and said her win was “just the beginning”.
Commenting on the result, the competition’s official Instagram page shared a photo of Kollé in her crown and with a bouquet of flowers and wrote: “The jury’s report reads: this finalist has shone 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 organization will enjoy working with this young woman.
“Miss Holland 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 is yet to be confirmed but will see contestants from 24 countries come together to battle it out for the title of Miss Universe.
In 2022, trans businesswoman Anne Jakrajutatip, CEO of Thai media group JKN and founder of the Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation, purchased the Miss Universe franchise – previously owned (both partially and fully) by indicted former US President Donald Trump from 1996 to 2015.
Giving a rousing speech at the 71st Miss Universe pageant in New Orleans in January, Jakrajutatip said, “It’s been 70 years that the Miss Universe organization has been run by men.
“But now the time has passed. (Now) is really the time for women to take the lead.
“From now on it will 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 the Miss Universe pageant, 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 compete in 2018.