Miss Universe purchased by Thai trans rights advocate Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip

This is pretty cool. The Miss Universe pageant has been running since 1952. The organization has had a few different owners over the years, including Donald Trump from 1996-2015, and was most recently owned by IMG Worldwide. The Miss Universe Organization was just purchased by JKN Global Group, the CEO of which is Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, a Thai businesswomen and transgender rights advocate. She purchased it for a cool $20 million and she’s the first woman to own the Miss Universe Organization.

The Miss Universe pageant is under new ownership.

Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, a Thai businesswoman and transgender rights advocate, has purchased the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million, according to NBC News and The Guardian.

Jakrajutatip, 43, is now the first woman to own the Miss Universe Organization in its 71-year history, per the reports.

In addition to serving as CEO of JKN Global Group, which bought the pageant, Jakrajutatip is also a reality television star in Thailand — appearing on the country’s versions of shows like Shark Tank and Project Runway, the outlets said.

Jakrajutatip also previously helped establish the Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation, a nonprofit organization that supports transgender rights.

In a statement, Jakrajutatip said JKN is “honored” to be working with Miss Universe’s “visionary leadership team,” according to Variety. She described the acquisition as “a strong, strategic addition” to the group’s portfolio.

“We seek not only to continue its legacy of providing a platform to passionate individuals from diverse backgrounds, cultures, and traditions, but also to evolve the brand for the next generation,” Jakrajutatip said, per the outlet.

Miss Universe was sold by Endeavor’s IMG, which bought the organization in 2015, per Variety’s report. The pageant has grown significantly in that time, and is now broadcasting in 165 countries.

[From People]

It’s appropriate that a beauty pageant is now owned by a woman. The current president and CEO will both remain in their roles and it seems like they’re positively looking toward the future with the new ownership. It will be interesting to see how Anne’s background and life influence the future of the organization and pageant. According to the article, she is a reality star in Thailand. And she’s fairly young in her 40s. And her life as a transgender woman and trans rights advocate will hopefully push the pageant into a more progressive place. The pageant had its first transgender contestant in 2018, a woman from Spain, and the change in leadership can help create an environment that is even more welcoming, inclusive, and diverse. Anne’s quote is about evolving the brand for the next generation and that certainly seems true. I haven’t watched a beauty pageant in a long time, but I look forward to seeing her vision for the organization in her new role as its owner.

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15 Responses to “Miss Universe purchased by Thai trans rights advocate Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip”

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  1. Rapunzel says:

    Cue the GOP freakout. Has anyone checked on Tucker Carlson? Is he okay?
    Oh, wait…I don’t care.

    But i am betting JK Rowling puts her whole foot in her mouth and eats it.

    • Christine says:

      This reminded me that Tucker Carlson threw an absolute fit when M&Ms made the green one “less sexy”.

    • Runaway says:

      Why did you summon that Madeline Wuntch she-beast into this beautiful story. This is such a wonderful step in the right direction in the world. More please!

  2. LooneyTunes says:

    May she take it out back and send it over the rainbow bridge. It’s time to evolve away from beauty pageants.

    • BeanieBean says:

      That was my thinking, too. I was a little conflicted reading about this, thinking, yay, I guess, but why do beauty pageants still exist??

      • Runaway says:

        You cannot destroy matter. They exist, bless her if she can find a way to transform them into something more than just a T&A “IT’S A SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM!!!!” – ok Candice bergen!!

      • Miss Owlsyn says:

        I thought the same, “Can a beauty pageant even BE progressive?”

        Then I considered that some women genuinely love being in pageants. And who am I to judge? Why take it away? And it can be made better, at the very least, by making these spaces safer for the women who participate. A woman running the whole thing seems like a step in the right direction to accomplish that.

        Also, and this is not a reflection of the owner being a trans woman, I thought about how much I like what I know of drag queen culture and RuPaul’s Drag Race (which I realize is not representative of all drag queen culture). If I can love drag performers participating in those shows where there are so many elements of a beauty pageant present, maybe there’s hope for beauty pageants as well.

        Anyway,that’s my two cents that no one asked for.

      • Otaku fairy says:

        ” If I can love drag performers participating in those shows where there are so many elements of a beauty pageant present, maybe there’s hope for beauty pageants as well.” Great point. It’s always good to be aware of when we may be negatively reacting to cis and trans women for doing something we enjoy or are at least ok with cis men of any sexual orientation doing. Whether it’s enjoying beauty and femininity, use of art and fashion to reject traditional values, or people defending themselves or someone else getting abused for their sexuality and how they present themselves. Stopping to ask ourselves, “How would I react to marginalized men doing this” is almost always a helpful way to interrogate our responses to women.

    • mauve says:

      I doubt that will happen. When someone goes the distance in redecorating themselves, they obviously care deeply about decoration (and style, and fabric, and “looks”). Looking at these photos — certainly seems like the kind of ruffles and blushes and grooming that a beauty pageant is all about. It won’t die out, sadly. But maybe if all genders are participating, it can become something wonderful and inspiring.

  3. Nicegirl says:

    This is wonderful news and I’m so happy reading about it!!! Yay 😁

    She bought the Miss Universe pageant?? Amazing 😻

    I’m going to send this article to my daughter. Tysm

  4. chumsley says:

    Love the fact that it’s now owned by a woman! I might have any interest in beauty pageants, but it helps to promote trans rights in some way, I’m all for it!

  5. [insert_catchy_name] says:

    I don’t really believe in “beauty pageants” but I am interested to see what she does with this.

  6. jferber says:

    I’m very intrigued by all of this– a sexist event and a pro-transgender advocate. Very, very interesting. Best of luck, too.