Miss Universe's Historic Transformation: Celebrating Inclusivity with Transgender Competitors

Miss Universe's step-by-step approach champions inclusivity, breaks barriers, and redefines beauty standards

In a world where diversity and inclusivity are celebrated, the Miss Universe Organization is taking a historic step toward progress and change. This transformation builds upon a legacy from the past to the present, currently under the leadership of Anne Jakkaphong Jakrakutatip, also known as Khun Anne. The shift in the world of beauty pageants is characterised by the inclusion of transgender contestants. Furthermore, there will be no age limit for potential contestants, and, for the first time in its history, Miss Universe will allow married women and mothers to compete, bringing a breath of fresh air and empowerment to a traditionally exclusive event.

Anne Jakkaphong, a Thai businesswoman, television host, and Chief Executive Officer of JKN Global Group, is a transgender woman who has become a prominent figure in the media and entertainment industry. Notably, she is now the owner of the Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA beauty pageant organisations, marking the first time a trans woman has owned these esteemed pageants. According to Forbes, she is also one of the world's wealthiest transgender individuals, with an estimated net worth of US$210 million.

The Inspiration Behind Miss Universe's Evolution

Anne's journey is a clear demonstration of her determination and resilience. She recognised her true identity at a young age and pursued success relentlessly to prove her worth to a world that often failed to accept her.

The turning point for Anne and the Miss Universe Organization came in 2018 when the competition graced Thailand's shores. Watching Ángela Maria Ponce Camacho, Miss Spain, make history as the first transgender woman to compete on the Miss Universe stage, Anne was deeply moved. Ángela's emotional statement about wanting to show the world that a trans woman could succeed resonated with Anne, inspiring her to dedicate her life to the LGBTQ+ community and women's empowerment.

Under Anne's ownership, the Miss Universe Organization has swiftly embraced change. Anne has removed restrictions on married, divorced, or pregnant contestants, opening the doors for a more diverse group of women to participate in this competition. This marks a critical step toward inclusivity, setting the stage for a more empowered and representative pageant world.

Redefining Beauty for an Inclusive Future

The Miss Universe organisation has announced that beginning next year, there will be no age limit on potential contestants, a change advocated for by R'Bonney Gabriel, the winner of the 2022 pageant and the first Filipino-American woman to win Miss USA and America's first Miss Universe winner in a decade.

Miss Universe has been actively working to become more inclusive, beginning with allowing transgender contestants in 2012 and subsequently allowing mothers and married women to compete in 2022.

Thailand crowned Antonia Porsild as Miss Universe Thailand 2023. This Danish-Thai model, representing Nakhon Ratchasima province, is poised to shine on the global stage at Miss Universe 2023 which is scheduled to take place in El Salvador on November 18, and promises to usher in a new era of inclusivity and empowerment.

Notable contestants include

Miss Universe Guatemala, Michelle Cohn, the first mother confirmed to compete in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. Photo: Courtesy of Página web Miss Universo Guatemala

Miss Universe Colombia, Camila Avella, is the first Miss Universe contestant to have a husband and child. Photo: Courtesy of pageantcircle

Miss Universe Netherlands, Rikkie Kollé, is the second-ever trans Miss Universe beauty pageant contestant. Photo: Courtesy of Hollandse Hoogte/Shutterstock

Miss Universe Portugal, Marina Machete, is the first Portuguese transgender woman to participate in the Miss Universe contest. Photo: Courtesy of Fresherslive

Miss Universe Organization is setting new standards for inclusivity and diversity in beauty pageants. It celebrates the authenticity and diversity of women from all walks of life, breaking barriers, and redefining beauty standards for a more inclusive and empowering future.

In a world where beauty knows no boundaries, Miss Universe is redefining beauty on its own terms—one that is truly inclusive and diverse.