Rikkie Valerie Kollé created history by becoming the first-ever transgender woman to win Miss Netherlands on July 8. The 22-year-old was crowned with a tiara by her predecessor, Ona Moody and reigning Miss Universe R’Bonney Gabriel from the US, at the AFAS Theater in Leusden.
Kollé becomes the second transgender woman to compete in Miss Universe’s global competition in El Salvador later this year. Angela Ponce became the pageant’s first trans contestant when she represented Spain in 2018. Notably, the 71-year-old competition first started permitting transgender contestants to participate in 2012.
Celebrating her win through an Instagram post which was written in her native language Dutch, she wrote, “I did it! It’s unreal but I can call myself Miss Netherlands 2023. It was an educational and wonderful process, my year can no longer be broken. I'm so proud and happy I can't even describe it. Making my community proud and showing it can be done. And yes I’m trans and I want to share my story but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what matters to me. Did this on my own and loved every moment of it."
Miss Netherlands 2023- Rikkie Valerie Kollé | Instagram- Rikkie Valerie Kollé
She added, "I want to thank the jury and everyone from the Miss Netherlands team for their trust, this is only the beginning. My dearest co-finalists we each put on a show, love you all girls. My dear family and friends, my N1 supporters, you gave me so much extra strength from the hall. And wherever you are in the world, I want to be there for you and be the example that I missed as a little me. On to many more adventures, let’s get @missuniverse ready. So excited!"
Rikkie, post the win, aspires to be a voice and role model for the queer community, and urge them to follow their dreams.