Miss Netherlands Pageant Winner Makes History
Rikkie Valerie Kollé has made history as the first trans woman to win the Miss Netherlands pageant. Kollé, 22, will be representing the Netherlands at Miss Universe 2023 this December in El Salvador. Kollé will be the second trans woman ever to compete in Miss Universe after Spain's Angela Ponce in 2018. "I DID IT!" the model said on an Instagram post. "Yes I'm trans and I want to share my story but I'm also Rikkie and that's what matters to me. And wherever you are in the world, I want to be there for you and be the example that I missed as a little me." Here are five things about Kollé and how the model lives life.
Kollé is from the city of Breda, and is of Dutch and Indigenous Moluccan descent. "As Miss Netherlands 2023, I want to be a voice and role model for all young women and queer people," she says. "I know better than anyone what it's like to feel alone and not be surrounded by only positive thoughts. When I was little Rik and came out as transgender, it wasn't easy for everyone. I, too, went through it. Today I am stronger than ever before. Through my commitment, strength and as Miss Netherlands I hope to bring about change in society."
Changing Her Name
Kollé went through gender-affirming surgery in January 2023, and says she changed her name from Rik to Rikkie at eleven years old. The Miss Universe competition has allowed trans women to compete since 2012. "This finalist has radiated throughout the show and has also made the greatest progress in the process. She has a strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organization will enjoy working with this young woman. Miss Netherlands 2023 is… RIKKIE," the Miss Netherlands official instagram account caption reads.
She's In a Music Video
Kollé previously competed on Holland's Next Top Model, and also starred in a music video. "A while ago I was able to work with even more beautiful people on the new music video of the new song Hide My Love," she says. "By the super sweet and talented @itspaulmorris 🙏🏼 We really managed to do it, for me it's important that this kind of messages are also delivered to the Netherlands. Our LGBTQI+ community is already overcoming a lot, but as long as not everyone can be who they want to be, we will fight for our rights every day."
The Future of Miss Universe
Anne Jakrajutatip is a Thai business mogul and transgender trans activist who bought the Miss Universe Organization in 2022. Jakrajutatip wants to make the competition more open and inclusive to people from all walks of life. "I don't call Miss Universe a beauty pageant anymore," they say. "I call it a women's empowerment competition."
A Role Model
Kollé is proud to be a role model for other young people. "Never forget that we can do this together, you're not alone on this planet. Never stop dreaming of being your ultimate and confident YOU!" the model says. "Because YOU have to do it, you can and you will! I'm here for you and so proud. Never let someone tell you what's good for you, because the only thing that matters is that you become the best version of yourself. No matter sexuality, gender or any other choices."