Photos: @missnederland

For the first time in history, a transgender woman has won the Miss Netherlands beauty pageant.

Rikkie Valerie Kolle, from Breda in the South Netherlands, was crowned on 9 July by her predecessor Ona Moody and the current Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel.

Following her historic win, the model told her Instagram followers that she’s “so proud” of her win and what it means for the transgender community.

“And yes I’m trans and I want to share my story but I’m also Rikkie and that’s what matters to me,” she wrote. “Did this on my own and loved every moment of it. I want to thank the jury and everyone from the Miss Netherlands team for their trust, this is only the beginning.”

Ahead of the competition, Rikkie said she aimed to be a “voice and role model”.

‘Through my commitment and strength I hope to bring about change in society. In the end, it’s about being able to become who you are without issues, and that can happen when YOU want it to,” she explained.

“Not only can I help you with that, but with the Miss Netherlands organization behind me I hope that my story as little Rik will become a story that we can leave in the past and not have to repeat on the generation of now.

“It is never too late and help is always ready. That has always been my guiding principle and I want to pass it along and spread it with my own story and experience.”

The official Instagram account for Miss Netherlands celebrated Rikkie’s win, saying she “radiated throughout the show” and made the “greatest progress”: “She has a strong story with a clear mission. The jury is convinced that the organization will enjoy working with this young woman.”

With her win, Rikkie now qualifies for the coveted 72nd Miss Universe 2023 pageant as the official representative from the Netherlands.

The competition, which is held in El Salvador, will take place in December.

Rikkie will be Miss Universe’s second openly trans contestant after Spanish model Angela Ponce, who competed in 2018.