The company that runs the yearly Miss Universe pageant has been purchased in a multi-million dollar deal by a transgender Thai celebrity, who voiced hopes the organization will help boost her country’s tourism industry and inspire other young women.
Jakapong ‘Anne’ Jakrajutatip, the CEO and top shareholder at international conglomerate JKN Global Group, completed the purchase of the Miss Universe Organization earlier this week for $20 million, saying the company will make for “a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio.”
“It’s a universal platform… I can become the aspiration for so many people, in particular women, LGBTQ, so they can transform,” she told Reuters on Thursday.
Organized annually, the beauty pageant has been running for 71 years and is broadcast to 165 nations. Jakapong said she believes that “every country” involved, not only Thailand, “will get tourism income” from the project, adding that it will fit into her country’s “Five F-factors” tourism initiative (fighting, food, fashion, film and festival).
JKN Global Group – which produces television shows, films and a wide range of other products – said it created a US-based subsidiary, JKN Metaverse, to operate the Miss Universe Organization.
In addition to her business roles, Jakapong has attained some celebrity status starring in Thai reality shows, including local iterations of ‘Shark Tank’ and ‘Project Runway.’ She has also entered the world of activism, having established the Life Inspired For Thailand Foundation to advocate on behalf of other transgender people.