Rikkie Valerie Kolle, a 22-year-old transgender woman, was recently crowned Miss Netherlands. This marks the first time in the pageant’s history that a transgender woman has won the title.
The event took place last Saturday 8th July, with Kolle emerging victorious over her competitors. Donning a red gown, the newly crowned Miss Netherlands accepted the accolade from former titleholder Ona Moody and reigning Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel from the US. Upon her victory, she shared her triumph on Twitter with a simple, emphatic ‘I DID IT!’
Kolle’s win has secured her a place in the upcoming Miss Universe pageant, which will be held in El Salvador in December. Contestants from several countries will compete for the crown. This marks the second time a transgender woman will be competing in the Miss Universe competition.
The first transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe was Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018. Transgender contestants have been eligible to participate in the competition since 2012.
Ownership of the Miss Universe organisation passed to Thai businesswoman and advocate Anne Jakrajutatip in October 2022. Jakrajutatip, herself a transgender woman, took over from former owner, ex-US president Donald Trump. She has committed to continuing the pageant’s legacy and evolving its brand for future generations.
Earlier this year, transgender woman Daniela Arroyo González was chosen to compete in the Puerto Rico beauty competition. The increasing participation of transgender women in beauty pageants has been met with both praise and criticism from different corners, highlighting the ongoing debate around the topic.
Miss Netherlands’ panel of judges commended Kolle for her performance throughout the competition. She now prepares for the Miss Universe competition, aiming to represent the Netherlands and her community on a global stage.
In an Instagram post, Kolle spoke about her victory and identity, saying, “And yes I’m trans and I want to share my story but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what matters to me.” She added, “I did this on my own and loved every moment of it.”
As the Miss Universe competition approaches, it’s evident that Kolle’s victory marks a significant moment in pageant history. It highlights the evolving conversation around gender and inclusivity within traditionally biological female-dominated spaces.
Image credit: Instagram/@rikkievaleriekolle