image source gmanetwork.com
The month of October gave us some insane, high voltage pageant drama and we are ready to serve the boiling hot tea to our loyal pageant fanatics from all over the world. Be it the annual carnival of Miss Grand International or the romantic union of former Queens, October was definitely the month for Pageant Fans!
The crown for creating the biggest buzz however, is taken by the Veteran Alpha - Miss Universe! With a new owner, MUO is all set to welcome their fans into their New Era - The JKN Era! Tons and tons of promises have been made and it'll be exciting to see what the new MU team has to bring to the table. Earlier this year, pageant fans worldwide anticipated a change in ownership of the venture and many big names were considered as the potential MUO owners, including the JKN Group.
On 26th October, Endeavour Group sold the licensing rights of the Miss Universe Organization to Thai Media Tycoon - Anne Jakkaphong Jukrajutatip, deeming all auction speculations as true. With the change in ownership, fans expect the Miss Universe Pageant to have a new set of rules and ideologies, but before we get into that, let's meet our new Owner - Anne Jakkaphong Jukrajutatip!
Anne is a Thai businesswoman and the CEO of the JKN Global Group - a leading content management and distribution company based in Samut Prakan, Thailand. She was born on 17th February 1979 to Thai based Chinese parents - as Andrew Jukrajutatip. As a four year old, Anne was admitted to an all boys school, making her feel uncomfortable and very out of place. Growing up, she was heavily bullied and sexually harassed by both her teachers and her classmates in school for her gender identity and being more feminine. She was stuck, juggling two different personalities at school and home. Her parents didn't accept her choice of gender, which is why she had to live the way a boy is expected to live in society.
She revealed in an interview that she'd often steal her mother's makeup and lock herself up in her room at night. She'd then look at herself in the mirror, dreaming to be the girl in the mirror someday.
Anne could not identify herself as a woman until she turned sixteen and flew to Sydney to pursue her degree in International Relations. Her transition began around this time, when she grew out her hair, down to waist, wore more feminine attires and began using makeup to fully embrace the woman in her. However, when she returned back to her home country - Thailand, her decisions weren't accepted well by the society, and especially, her family. Her mother threatened to commit suicide and end her own life if Anne didn't return to being her son - Andrew. So Anne had to take a step back.
For the next 15 years, Anne lived as their son, managing her father’s business, until she could no longer hold it in. At the age of 36,having had enough, Anne decided to run away from her family and start living her life the way she wanted. She was anxious and paranoid about losing her family, her friends and her business relations because of her one life altering decision, but she wanted to be truthful to herself and her identity. She could no longer pretend to be someone she is not. She wanted to make her own identity, the one that really identified her individuality. She underwent ten reconstruction surgeries over the course of the next three years. Anne explained how the process was hard and “looking like a mummy for months” was very draining but it was all worth it in the end because she is now one hundred percent a woman.
Anne also went on to explain how her whole transition was never about sexuality or being gay, it was about her feeling trapped inside a wrong body. Her family is now a bit more accepting about her choices but she isn't very close to them and doesn’t spend too much time with them - “i wouldn’t want to scare them with my toy boys “ she joked while talking to the Times Of India.
She has since won several awards for both her business and her influence including a Woman of the Year Award by Content Asia in 2019, Influential Woman of the Year Award in Media Industry, and the Most Influential Person in the Thai Entertainment Industry 2022. Anne has also now created history by acquiring 100 percent ownership of the Endeavour Group, that holds the licensing rights to Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants, making her the sole owner of the three of the world’s biggest pageants. She’s also the first woman and the first non - American personality to ever own Miss Universe. With Anne’s entry into the MU Team, we can expect some major revolutionary changes in the pageant’s eligibility criteria and overall evaluation process.
As we sit and admire her story, we must understand what power our dreams hold. Life continues whether you have what you want, or you don't. Until Next Time, Stay Tuned!