Thai trans tycoon buys Miss Universe pageant

Bangkok, 27 Oct (EFE).- A Thai business tycoon and trans activist has bought the “Miss Universe” competition for $20 million, aiming to make the organization more “inclusive” and to hold the contest in Thailand more often. 

“We would love to make it more international for sure, if we can make it more often in Thailand, like in the US,” Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip, CEO of media and content conglomerate JKN Global Group said on Thursday, after adding Miss Universe to the portfolio of her company, which produces Thai TV shows. 

“I would love to encourage the Thai government to boost the economy and promote and get the benefit from tourism,” added Anne, who is also a trans rights activist and has participated in reality TV shows in her country. 

According to a statement released by the JKN Global Group on Oct. 26, the company has bought rights to the Miss Universe contest from IMG Worldwide LLC – a sports, talent and event marketing company based in New York – which had been running the contest since 2015.

The statement said that the purchase is meant to carry on the over 70-years-old legacy of Miss Universe, an” international and inclusive organization” that celebrates women of all cultures and traditions. 

Former president of the United States, Donald Trump, was the co-owner of the rights of the contest from 1996 until they were acquired by IMG in 2015. 

Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip now takes over the ownership of a contest that has been held annually for 71 years and broadcast in more than 160 countries, aiming to make it more inclusive and diverse, the statement said. 

The businesswoman, who has established a subsidiary in the US, JKN Metaverse Inc., in order to purchase the Miss Universe organization, is famous in Thailand and vocal about being a trans woman. 

She has also founded an organization  to promote trans rights, called Life Inspired For Transsexual Foundation. 

Paula Shugart, president of the Miss Universe Organization, insisted in a virtual press conference on Thursday that the contest was “in very, very good hands.”

“We love you, thank you so much. Welcome to the family of JKN Universe,” Anne said. EFE

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