Rikkie Valerie Kolle, 22, held her hands over her mouth in shock as she was named the winner on Sunday to a soundtrack of the Sia song “Unstoppable.”
“I DID IT !!!!! 👑❤️,” Kolle wrote on Instagram of her “educational and beautiful journey.”“I’m so proud and happy I can’t even describe it. Making my community proud and showing it can be done,” the newly crowned beauty queen wrote.Wearing a red gown and her hair up in a bun, Kolle had nervously held hands with the runner-up during a lengthy pause to announce the winner.
Kolle then covered her face in shock at being named the winner, getting a hug from the runner-up before getting the Miss Netherlands sash from the current Miss Universe, Texan R’Bonney Gabriel.
Some of the other finalists standing at the back of the stage looked at each other, with some appearing to grimace awkwardly at the unprecedented decision.
The Miss Netherlands official Instagram page also celebrated the win by the “beautiful” trans contestant.“This finalist shined throughout the show and has also made the greatest progress along the way,” the pageant wrote of the judges’ decision.
“She has an iron-strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organization will enjoy working with this young woman.”
The win means Kolle will compete in Miss Universe, which is now owned by Anne Jakrajutatipa, a transgender Thai woman.
“Let’s get @missuniverse ready. So excited!!!”Kolle said in her celebratory social media post — one flooded with messages of outrage that she took the spot ahead of a biological woman
Kolle, however, will not be the first trans woman to make it to Miss Universe — an honor that went to then-Miss Spain Angela Ponce in 2018, who failed to make the top 20.
The pageant first allowed trans competitors in 2012, when it was still owned by now-former President Donald Trump, who reinstated a Canadian competitor who’d been booted for not being a “naturally born female.”