Rikkie Valerie Kollé, Miss Netherlands 2023, can nonetheless hardly imagine she gained her nation’s annual pageant.
She spent all day on Saturday getting ready for and having fun with each second of the ceremony that evening, which was attended by the reigning Miss Universe, the American R’Bonney Gabriel.
The present, which began at 8 p.m., flew by, “and two and a half hours later I was Miss Netherlands,” Ms. Kollé, 22, stated in a cellphone interview on Tuesday, including that her victory “had finally sunk in.”
Ms. Kollé’s win is historic: She is the primary trans lady to win the pageant within the Netherlands, and he or she would be the second brazenly trans lady to compete in a Miss Universe competitors when she represents her nation in El Salvador later this 12 months.
As the primary trans lady to be named Miss Netherlands, Ms. Kollé stated she hoped to be there for her group and assist younger queer folks, in addition to elevate consciousness of the lengthy ready occasions for transgender well being care within the Netherlands.
“I’m going to be an open book,” she stated. In February, a submit on her Instagram account outlined her experiences as a baby and her therapies as an adolescent in addition to an replace about her gender-transition surgical procedure.
However being an open ebook on social media comes with a variety of hate, too, and avoiding on-line negativity could be troublesome. Ms. Kollé stated she had confronted a variety of on-line abuse and insults since profitable the pageant, as had a few of her shut relations, together with her mom and sister.
Ms. Kollé will not be the primary Dutch trans lady to succeed in the Miss Netherlands finals. Solange Dekker, a finalist from final 12 months’s competitors who took dwelling the title of Miss Social Media, went on to develop into the primary Dutch Miss Worldwide Queen 2023 final month, an annual pageant for trans ladies.
When she goes to El Salvador, Ms. Kollé would be the second trans lady to partake in a Miss Universe competitors. Spain’s Angela Ponce, additionally a trans lady, was a finalist in 2018.
“We’re really looking for the most beautiful woman in the Netherlands,” stated Monica van Ee, a member of the jury who selected Ms. Kollé this weekend. She can also be the nationwide director of Miss Netherlands.
She stated that whereas nationwide and worldwide media had been to speak about Ms. Kollé’s victory, lots of people had despatched upsetting and threatening messages attacking Ms. Kollé.
Anne Jakrajutatip, the proprietor of the mother or father firm of Miss Universe who’s a trans lady herself, celebrated Ms. Kollé’s win in an announcement.
“My Miss Universe superfan conversion was sitting in the front row while Angela Ponce, the first trans Miss Universe Spain, walked the runway for the first time,” Ms. Jakrajutatip stated, including that she was comfortable to make an announcement that “trans women are women — and we are here to celebrate women.”
Ms. Kollé, who’s from the southern Dutch metropolis of Breda, has modeled since she was an adolescent. She stated she selected to use to develop into Miss Netherlands as a result of pageants supplied her an opportunity to inform her story.
As a mannequin, she stated, “you’re a bit of a clothes hanger. Otherwise you mostly have to be quiet.” However on the earth of pageantry, she stated, “it’s also important that you have something to say.”
Ms. van Ee, Miss Netherlands’s nationwide director, stated that during the last decade or so, the pageant had modernized. Now, moms, divorced ladies and trans ladies can take part, she stated. “I took over Miss Netherlands because I wanted to make women stronger,” Ms. van Ee stated. “I want to inspire young girls.”
She stated she had been shocked by the variety of unfavorable responses from women and men.
The perfect winner of a Miss Netherlands competitors should have a formidable presence and make heads flip when she walks right into a room. She additionally wants a message that may encourage others, Ms. van Ee stated. “Beauty comes from the inside,” she stated.
She stated that Ms. Kollé had been the strongest contender. “Throughout the whole process, she was the most beautiful woman,” Ms. van Ee stated.
“I was chosen for who I am and my story,” Ms. Kollé stated, “and not because I’m a trans woman.”