Thai Tycoon & Transgender Activist Buys Miss Universe Pageant: Who Is She?

The beauty pageant organiser had previously been owned solely by men.

2 min read
Thai Tycoon & Transgender Activist Buys Miss Universe Pageant: Who Is She?
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A Thai media magnate, who is a transgender woman, has made history by buying the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million. This is the first time that the beauty pageant organiser will be owned by a woman.

Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, CEO of JKN Global Media Public Company Limited which has bought the Miss Universe Organisation, said in press statement:

"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.”

Who Is Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip?

Miss Universe's new owner Jakapong is a celebrity in Thailand, and has starred in local versions of reality shows Project Runway and Shark Tank.

The founder of the Life Inspired For Thailand Foundation has been a staunch advocate for the rights and dignity of transpersons in Thailand.

In an interview with Times of India in 2018, Anne had spoken about her experience of being born to a conservative Chinese family in Bangkok and growing up as Andrew.

She was only able to come into her own after she went to Bond University of Australia for her bachelor's degree in international relations. Jakapong shared that when she returned home at 21 dressed as a woman, her mother threatened to kill herself.

“My family was almost at war. To maintain peace I had to go back to being their son and behaved like a boy for 15 years until I couldn’t do it anymore.”
Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, as quoted by Times of India in 2018

Her acquisition of MOU comes at a time when the beauty contest will, for the first time, permit mothers and married women to compete in its next edition in 2023.


Media Mogul & 'Queen of Indian Content'

The business mogul is the biggest shareholder of JKN Global Group Public Company Limited, which provides content to media platforms, such as digital television, home video, publishing, video on demand, and ancillary. 

According to Forbes magazine, Jakapong is the world's third-richest transgender person, and had a fortune of $210 million in 2020. Her company's shares rose 25 percent on Thursday, after the announcement of the Miss Universe takeover.

JKN is also one of the pioneering companies that brought Indian television series to fame on Thai TV, which has earned Jakapong the nickname "Queen of Indian Content," as per a report in the Bangkok Post.

In an interview in 2017, Jakapong had drawn a connection between her public revelation about a gender identity transition and her growing media empire  –  saying that it has afforded the company attention in a crowded market and also liberated her to focus on business development and expansion.

(With inputs from Reuters, Times of India, and Bangkok Post)

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Topics:  Transgender   Miss Universe   transwoman 

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