Miss Universe Netherlands was named on Saturday, and the winner is 22-year-old Rikkie Valerie Kolle — a biological man. He won over nine actual female contestants for the honor to represent the nation in the global beauty contest.
Kolle is the first man to win the national beauty crown.
He advanced to the 72nd Miss Universe pageant coming in El Salvador. He is not the first transgender competitor in the tournament, with the transgender Miss Spain Angela Ponce competing in the contest in 2018.
If you think the dude on the left should be Miss Universe Netherlands instead of the woman on the right. Take off the face diaper, put down the Ukraine flag, turn off CNN, and seek help you're in a Cult pic.twitter.com/QDIROEveUR
— Vince Langman (@LangmanVince) July 9, 2023
He did not advance to that year’s finals.
According to Dutch public broadcasting outlet NOS, “She has a rock-solid story with a clear mission…The jury is convinced that the organization [of Miss Netherlands] will be happy to work with this young woman.”
After winning the crown, Kolle declared he was “only too happy to commit to all the little Rikkies who have to deal with rejection from their family, their transition to the person they desire to be.”
He committed to helping young people with their “self-image and acceptance [to be] stronger, untouchable.”
Kolle was previously active in the reality TV program “Holland’s Next Top Model” in 2018, where he survived until the final round of the competition. He had the distinction of being the second transgender model to compete, following Loiza Lamers, the 2015 winner.
For this reason and many others, it is likely not a shock that Miss Netherlands is not a biological woman. Political commentator, Eva Vlaardingerbroek tweeted that “a man just won Miss Netherlands 2023.”
She added, “Considering the fact that we live in a post-truth world, I wasn’t even expecting anything else. It’s all so predictable and unoriginal at this point.”
Kolle is of Dutch and Moluccan descent, which is a people from the Maluku Islands in eastern Indonesia. He recently posted on Instagram that, as a “woman,” he is making choices and thinking further than just “looking nice.”
He said even though people share opinions online both positive and negative, he rejects this entirely. Instead, he is “a proud woman in lingerie, and what people think of that is not what moves me forward.”
In a video last week, Kolle said as “a little boy, I conquered all the things that came through my path.”
There were no comments reported from the runner-up — an actual woman — who was denied the honor.