2 Transgender Contestants To Compete In Upcoming Miss Universe Pageant

Transgender contestant Rikkie Kolle poses after being crowned winner in the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant in Leusden, on July 8, 2023. (Photo by EVERT ELZINGA/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Brooke Mallory
5:16 PM – Monday, October 9, 2023

Marina Machete, one of two transgender contestants who recently won their home country’s national pageants, became the first transgender person to win Miss Portugal last week, making Machete eligible to compete for Miss Universe later this year.


Machete, 28, who reportedly works as a flight attendant, thanked fans for the influx of “positive and empowering” comments since being crowned on Thursday.

“To all of you watching, I just want to say that, just like the universe, your possibilities in life are limitless,” she said in a video on Instagram. “So don’t limit yourself to any dream that you have.”

Machete expressed glee and excitement in meeting the other delegates at the 72nd Miss Universe competition in November in El Salvador.

Rikkie Valerie Kolle, 22, who is also transgender, was named Miss Netherlands back in July.

“Yes, I’m trans and I want to share my story but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what matters to me,” Kolle wrote in an Instagram post. “I did this on my own strength and enjoyed every moment.”

Among the 90 biological women competing for the title on November 18th, Machete and Kolle appear to be the only transgender candidates, so far. Before the Miss Universe pageant next month, there are two additional qualifying competitions in China and Mongolia.

In 2012, Miss Universe began allowing biological men who identify as transgender women to participate, and in 2018, after winning Miss Spain, Angela Ponce became the first transgender woman to do so.

Kataluna Enriquez, who won Miss Nevada in 2021, became the first transgender woman to compete in the Miss USA pageant, although Enriquez did not go on to compete in the Miss Universe competition that year.

However, not all national pageants have been as welcoming to transgenders.

Patrizia Mirigliani, the official pageant organizer for Miss Italy, said that her country’s national beauty competition would not permit any biological men to compete in the fight for the crown.

In October 2022, the Miss Universe Organization (MUO) was purchased for $20 million by Thai media mogul Anne Jakkapong Jakrajutatip, who is also a transgender woman, making Jakrajutatip the first transgender owner of the competition.

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