Transgender, Thai billionaire mother who owns Miss Universe pageant promises changes

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The Miss Universe pageant, slated to be hosted in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 2023, will see several new changes to contestant eligibility, pageant focus as well as the crown.

However, the biggest change remains the contest’s new owner, billionaire Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, CEO of Thailand-based media company JKN Global Group Pcl. The entrepreneur is a male-to-female transgender woman, with two children.

Jakrajutatip purchased Miss Universe, Miss USA, and Miss Teen USA in October 2022, according to Nola.com.

The CEO, who Reuters and other outlets call the first woman to own the pageant, will implement a new award for leadership in the contest.

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Jakrajutatip was always a fan of the pageant, and “grew up watching (Miss Universe) with [his] mother and grandmother.”

“It’s the No. 1 beauty Olympics in the world, but it’s not just about beauty, it’s about the iconic woman — beauty, brains and leadership,” the new owner said.

The TV host commented on going to an all-boys school in Thailand growing up, saying, “I was bullied a lot in school, because I was a woman trapped in the wrong body.”

“I believe in the power of women to transform into the best versions of themselves,” Jakrajutatip added.

The media mogul’s company is the top content distributor in Thailand, owning three TV channels while appearing on popular programming, which includes Thailand’s version of American shows like “Shark Tank” and “Project Runway.”

“I became a billionaire at age 38, a woman at 39 and a mother of two at 40,” said the investor.

Other changes to the pageant will allow both married women and women whom have children to participate in the competition, which were previously disqualifying features.

In addition, the winner’s crown will now be called the “Force for Good” crown which is made up of “a 45.14-carat royal blue sapphire … a total of 110 carats of blue sapphires and 48 carats of white diamonds.”

The brand also plans to launch apparel and products, the first of which will be a mineral water released domestically in Thailand’s 14,000 7-11 stores.

The pageant’s new owner also seeks to continue the Donald Trump-era Miss Universe tradition of returning the competition to the owner’s homeland every three years.

“I’m hoping to bring Miss Universe back to Thailand every three years, just like Trump brought it back to America regularly when he owned it.”

Trump owned the pageant from 1996 to 2015.

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