Meet New Miss Universe Owner Anne Jakrajutatip
Get to know Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip, the Thai billionaire and transwoman who now runs the Miss Universe Organization
Making history as the first female and non-American owner of the Miss Universe Organization within the pageant’s 71-year streak, business tycoon and JKN Global Group CEO Jakkaphong “Anne” Jakrajutatip recently purchased the Miss Universe competition franchise for USD 20 million. With the mission to evolve the brand and make it more progressive, the 43-year-old media mogul delivered an impactful speech during the Miss Universe 2022 coronation night in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.
“It has been 70 years that [the] Miss Universe Organization [is] run by men. But now, time is up,” she set off, earning a collective cheer from the crowd. “It’s the moment, really, for women to take the lead.” A popular entertainment figure in Thailand and transgender rights advocate, Anne and her Thai-based company acquired the rights to the beauty pageant in October 2022, which was once owned by former United States president Donald Trump. To usher in a new era of the “global women’s empowerment platform,” she continues:
“Welcome to the Miss Universe Organization. From now on, it’s going to be run by women, owned by [a] transwoman, for all women around the world to celebrate the power of feminism, diverse cultures, social inclusion, gender equality, creativity, a force for good, and the beauty of humanity.” Having grown up in an environment pestered by bullying, discrimination, and sexual abuse, Anne Jakrajutatip eyes elevating women to “feel strong enough, good enough, qualified enough, and never be objectified again” with her “transformational leadership.”
Given the prejudices and social ills that she has been confronting, Anne officially began her transition upon her move to Sydney, Australia, where she transferred for her university studies. She pursued a degree in International Relations from Bond University, backed it up with a Real Estate Development certificate from Bangkok’s Chulalongkorn University, and another from the Thai Institute of Directors Association’s Director Accreditation Program. She has also been bestowed titles such as Asia Media Woman of the Year in 2019 and Forbes’ Third Richest Transgender in the World in 2020 with an estimated net worth of 12.2 billion Philippine pesos.
From working at a gas station to helming a top-tier content management and distribution company, Anne has been expanding various businesses under her wing. She is also dubbed as the “Queen of Indian Content,” as she reportedly helps bring Indian content to Thai entertainment. A show business personality herself, Miss Universe Organization’s chief executive can also be seen in the Thai versions of famous reality shows: Project Runway and Shark Tank.
Undergoing at least 10 reconstructive surgeries in a span of just three years as well as being a mother of two via surrogacy, Anne Jakrajutatip took on a transformation journey that is no child’s play. She wasn’t fully able to express herself until the age of 36. Understanding the feeling of being unheard and unseen, she assisted in the foundation of a non-profit organization called LIFT, or Life Inspired for Transsexuals Foundation. The group believes in the transgender’s right to dignity, acceptance, and equal opportunities.
Under Anne’s fresh leadership, she wishes to facilitate a makeover of an industry that has long been “misrepresented,” especially in terms of beauty standards. She is hopeful and promises to uphold Miss Universe’s long-standing values and heritage, eliminating all acts of inequity. “When I was born as a transwoman, [I was] bullied and sexually harassed by my own teacher when I was young, plus I was not accepted by society because they did not want to embrace my differences. But, guess what? I chose not to surrender. I turned pain into power and I turned life lessons into wisdom,” she concluded in her Miss Universe 2022 remarks.
In 2020, Anne Jakrajutatip declared her support for ABS-CBN amidst its franchise crisis and closure threats, penning a message and posting it on Instagram. The text bears the following words: “My heart will go on for you, ABS-CBN. I know we will work again one day—soon! Never surrender!” As the owner of JKN Global Group Public Company, Anne has been sealing business partnerships and deals with the network since 2016. Her multi-million dollar corporation became the official distributor of ABS-CBN productions in Thailand for shows like Got to Believe (2013), The Legal Wife (2014), and Bridges of Love (2015).
Lead photos from @annejkn.official