A Thai media tycoon and transgender woman has bought the Miss Universe Organization for $20 million, and will now henceforth host the international beauty pageant.
Anne Jakkaphong Jakrajutatip, the CEO of JKN Global Group PCL, a Thailand-based media distribution company, is known for her role in Thai versions of reality shows including her hit show “Project Runway.”
But as a transgender woman, she has also been outspoken about her experiences, and has worked in advocacy for transgender rights in Thailand.
Her company, JKN Global Group have now announced the takeover of the beauty pageant, saying in a news release it planned to grow the Miss Universe Organization by expanding in Asia – and releasing new merchandise including skin care, cosmetics, lifestyle products, dietary supplements and drinks.
Jakkaphong said the company was “incredibly honored” to buy the company.
“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.
In a joint statement, the CEO and president of the Miss Universe Organization said they were “excited to continue the evolution of the Miss Universe Organization with JKN.”
“Our progressive approach continues to position us at the forefront of our industry,” they said.
The purchase makes Jakkaphong the first woman owner of the Miss Universe Organization, according to the JKN news release.
The Miss Universe beauty contest, one of the world’s most-watched pageants, has been running since 1952.