Thai entrepreneur now owns Miss Universe pageant

Beauty contests have been increasingly popular in Thailand, and now a Thai entrepreneur is the new owner of the most famous beauty contest of them all – the Miss Universe pageant.

Even more notable is that the entrepreneur, Chakrapong “Anne” Chakrajutathib, is a celebrity transgender person and an activist for transgender rights. Anne, who is the Chief Executive Officer of JKN Global Group, paid $20 million on behalf of her firm to purchase the New York-based Miss Universe Organization on October 22. As part of the agreement, JKN also owns the Miss USA and Miss Teen USA pageants.

Anne said that the acquisition is “a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio.” JKN Global Group has interests in content distribution, beverages, food supplements, beauty and consumer products. Despite revenues of nearly $60 million, and the celebrity status of its majority owner, the company has a relatively low profile even in Thailand.

Anne is the latest wealthy Thai to acquire a global brand. In 2018, Thai businessman Chatchaval Chearavanont bought Fortune magazine and media group.

According to IMG, the organization’s previous owner, the Miss Universe pageant is broadcast in 165 countries. IMG bought the organization from Donald Trump in 2015 before he was elected President.

Anne has starred in reality shows and is outspoken about being a transgender woman. She also helped establish a nonprofit group, Life Inspired for Transsexual Foundation, to promote trans rights.

Beauty pageants first gained popularity in Thailand in the 1960s and are common at fairs across the country. Today, many Thais are even more supportive of beauty pageants – most of all Miss Universe, where Thai contestants generally shine and generate much national pride.”

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