A Thai transgender businesswoman, celebrity, and transgender rights advocate has bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million. This is the first time that the world-renowned beauty pageant will be owned by a woman in its 71-year history.
Jakapong “Anne” Jakrajutatip is the CEO and one of the biggest shareholders of JKN Global Group. She is also a celebrity and reality star in Thailand known for being on local versions of the shows Project Runway and Shark Tank.
Jakrajutatip is also active in trans rights advocacy. She also helped establish the Thai nonprofit transgender rights group Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation.
In a press release after acquiring the Miss Universe Organization, Jakrajutatip expressed, “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.”
She said that the acquisition of the brand is a “strong, strategic addition to our portfolio.”
“Despite having recently celebrated the organization’s legacy of more than 70 years, we are just getting started,” she added. She also mentioned that Miss Universe plans to expand in Asia.
Between 1996 to 2015, the Miss Universe Organization was co-owned by Former United States President Donald Trump. Ownership of the company was acquired by Endeavor IMG in 2015.
Endeavor President Mark Shapiro said, “We’re equally proud of the progress the organization has made in becoming a more inclusive and powerful platform where women can advance both their business objectives and their cause-based work,”
In 2018, the first transgender contestant to participate on the global stage as Miss Spain’s Angela Ponce competed for the crown. This was a historic moment for the trans community.
CEO Amy Emmerich also said, “We look forward to this next chapter in the Miss Universe story. In the short time I’ve been with the organization, I’ve seen firsthand the passion of our employees, franchisees, and partners, as well as our incredible community,”
“Despite having recently celebrated the organization’s legacy of more than 70 years, we are just getting started,” she said.