For $20 million, a Thai entrepreneur and transgender rights supporter purchases Miss Universe.

Her firm, which will now organize the international beauty contest, reported that a Thai media billionaire and supporter of transgender rights purchased the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million.

Although Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip is the CEO of JKN Global Group PCL, a media distribution business with headquarters in Thailand, she is likely most recognized for her work on Thai adaptations of reality programs like “Project Runway.”

She has also spoken out about her experiences as a transgender woman and worked in Thailand to advocate for transgender rights.

The acquisition was revealed by JKN Global Group on Wednesday. In a news release, the company stated that it intended to develop in Asia and grow the Miss Universe Organization by introducing new skin care, cosmetics, lifestyle, nutritional supplement, and beverage goods.

The corporation was “very honored,” according to Jakkaphong, to make the purchase.

We want to modernize the brand for the upcoming generation in addition to upholding its heritage of giving enthusiastic people from all origins, ethnicities, and traditions a platform, she added.

The CEO and president of the Miss Universe Organization expressed their excitement to work with JKN to continue the organization’s progress in a joint statement.

“Our forward-thinking strategy keeps us at the forefront of our business,” they said.

The JKN press release states that Jakkaphong is now the first female owner of the Miss Universe Organization as a result of the acquisition.

Since 1952, one of the most popular pageants in the world has been the Miss Universe competition.

The increased public desire for greater diversity, inclusion, and inclusivity over the past ten years has forced it, like many other big pageants, to make adjustments. Only in 2012 did it decide to eliminate its restriction on transgender competitors after a Canadian participant threatened legal action after learning she would lose because of her assigned sex at birth.

Although some detractors claim the idea behind a beauty pageant is fundamentally wrong, others assert that there has been substantial advancement in recent years.

The popularity of beauty pageants for transgender competitors has grown, especially Miss International Queen, which was founded in 2004 and hosted this year in Thailand. In order to promote gender flexibility and increase awareness for India’s transgender minority, several nations have introduced their own versions. In 2017, India staged the first-ever Miss Transqueen India contest.

Furthermore, in 2019, all five of the top pageants—Miss Universe, Miss World, Miss America, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA—had a woman of color as the winner. This was a significant achievement given that black women weren’t permitted to compete in Miss America until the 1940s, and the first black contestant didn’t walk the stage until 30 years later.

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