A Thai trans activist and business tycoon has bought the long-running Miss Universe Organisation in a landmark deal.
On 28 October, the CEO of JKN Global Group PCL, Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, announced the company’s acquisition of the world-renowned organisation for $20 million.
The international competition was previously owned by IMG Worldwide LLC, who bought it from Donald Trump 2015.
In a press release, the public figure described the move as a “strong, strategic addition” to the business’ portfolio.
Before landing the landmark takeover, Jakrajutatip had made a name for herself on an array of reality TV shows, including Thai iterations of the popular Project Runway and Shark Tank franchises.
The successful businesswoman has also been an outspoken advocate for the trans community and even created the nonprofit organisation Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation (per USA Today).
With the purchase officially announced, Jakrajutatip has become the first woman to own the popular franchise in its 71-year history.
Shortly after the news was announced, the beloved entrepreneur opened up about her goals for the long-standing brand in an interview with Reuters.
“It’s a universal platform… I can become the aspiration for so many people, in particular women, LGBTQ, so they can transform,” she told the news outlet.
The Miss Universe Organization CEO Amy Emmerich and president Paula Shugart also expressed their excitement for the partnership in a joint statement.
“Our relationships with global partners and brands have never been stronger, and our progressive approach continues to position us at the forefront of our industry,” the two said (per CNN).
Since the 1950s, the Miss Universe beauty pageant has been a yearly highlight for millions of fans across 190 territories.
Over the last few years, the international competition has slowly started to feature LGBTQ+ contestants.
Back in 2019, Myanmar’s Swe Zin Htet became the first openly gay contestant to compete in the coveted competition.
A year prior, Miss Spain – Àngela Ponce – made history as the first trans woman to land a spot in the pageant.
We can’t wait to see what Jakrajutatip and the Miss Universe Organisation have in store for future competitions.
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