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Miss Universe is now Thai

ANNE JAKAPONG JAKRAJUTATIP, CEO of JKN Global Group, and the first woman owner of The Miss Universe Organization.

A THAILAND-BASED group now owns the Miss Universe Organization and already has plans on leveraging the famous brand.

“Miss Universe belongs to us.”

That was the announcement made by JKN Global Group Public Company Limited Chief Executive Officer Anne Jakapong Jakrajutatip during an online press conference on Thursday.

The group has interests in media, wellness, beverages, and beauty.

This marks the first time that the organization and its accompanying pageants will be owned by a woman. According to a story from Reuters, the deal was sealed with $20 million.

JKN shared its plans for generating additional value based on the natural strength of the Miss Universe (MU) brand, including the upcoming debut of MU Lifestyle: a new licensing and merchandising arm of The Miss Universe Organization that will leverage the strength of the Miss Universe brand and JKN’s lifestyle portfolio to create a new range of merchandise, as well as entertainment and various business opportunities that reflect the strength of the brand.

The group plans multiple income streams through the Miss Universe pageant it said. These include licensing rights to find a representative for the pageant, for a country to host the pageant, distribute merchandise, and to broadcast the event. Other targeted income streams include ticket sales and talent management fees for the winner. It was projected during the press conference that the pageant reaches more than 600 million people in 170 countries.

The pageant first began in 1952, founded by Pacific Knitting Mills. In 1996, the pageant was bought by Donald Trump. In 2015, the company was sold to IMG, until it fell into the lap of JKN.

“We can be the inspiration for all the women around the world. You can have the crown,” said Ms. Jakrajutatip during the press conference. “Everything is possible if we have confidence.”

“Women will be the idol for everyone here.”

“I know that we’re in very good hands,” Miss Universe Organization President Paula Shugart said during the press conference.

“Miss Universe as a brand is incredibly proud of championing beautifully confident women, and providing opportunities for people all around the world, and for standing as a pillar of dignity, grace and progress: a future forged by women,” said Ms. Shugart.

On a personal note, Ms. Jakrajutatip is also a transgender rights activist. “I was born as a transgender, and had been through so many, many obstacles,” she said, speaking through a translator at the press conference. The pageant had its first transgender contestant in 2018 (Ángela Maria Ponce Camacho representing Spain).

The Philippines has so far produced four Miss Universe winners: Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margarita Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, and Catriona Gray in 2018. It has also hosted the pageant three times: in 1974, 1994, and 2017. — Joseph L. Garcia

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