Miss Universe Pageant Sold to Thai Trans Businesswoman

A woman will own the Miss Universe Organization for the first time after a Thai media tycoon and transgender rights advocate purchased it for $20 million. 

Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip is a well-known media personality in Thailand. She has appeared on local Project Runway and Shark Tank franchises.

As CEO of JKN Global Group, a media content distribution conglomerate, she is well-versed in all things entertainment. She’s also a trans woman and helped found the Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation, a trans rights organization. 

“We are incredibly honored to be acquiring The Miss Universe Organization and working with its visionary leadership team,” Jakrajutatip said in a press release announcing the development.

“The global reach of the organization, its relationships with global partners and brands, and its wealth of content, licensing, and merchandising opportunities make this a strong, strategic addition to our 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 added.

JKN acquired the Miss Universe Organization from mega-agency IMG, which bought it from former president Donald Trump in 2015. Trump previously owned the rights starting in 1996.

The Miss Universe pageant began 71 years ago and runs in 165 countries, according to the announcement.

In 2018, Miss Spain, Angela Ponce, became the first transgender contestant to compete.

“We are excited to continue the evolution of The Miss Universe Organization with JKN,” Miss Universe Organization CEO Amy Emmerich and president Paula Shugart shared in the press release, “Our relationships with global partners and brands have never been stronger, and our progressive approach continues to position us at the forefront of our industry.”

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