Beauty pagent history was made in the Netherlands this weekend with the election of trans woman Rikkie Kolle as Miss Nederland 2023.
Kolle “has shone throughout the entire show,” the judges said. “She has a very strong story and a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organisers will be able to work with this young woman with a great deal of pleasure.”
Kolle, who is 22, will also represent the Netherlands at the next Miss Universe competition as the second trans woman to do so, following Spain’s Angela Ponce in 2018. The pageant’s parent organisation began allowing transgender women to compete in 2012.
Kolle’s election is both inspiring and important, Remke Verdegem, of Transgender Netwerk, said on Sunday. “Positive role models can give you the strength to stand up for yourself. Rikkie shows how important it is to be yourself and we hope her message will inspire many people.”
Kolle herself said when she was “little Rik and came out of the closet as transgender, it wasn’t easy for everyone and I too had to go through it.” Kolle said she wanted to be there for “all little Rikkies” who face rejection because of their transition”.
In 2018, Kolle made the final of the television talent show Holland’s Next Top Model.
In June, Dutch trans woman Solange Dekker won the title of Miss International Queen 2023 in Thailand. That competition was launched 17 years ago to boost the acceptance of trans women.
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