A transgender woman has been crowned as Miss Universe Netherlands for the first time.
Rikkie Kolle, 22, took the top prize at the pageant on Saturday, July 8, essentially making her the de facto Miss Netherlands.
She will now come up against women from across the world as they battle it out to be crowned Miss Universe later this year
Kolle will compete in El Salvador in December, where she will be the first trans woman to represent the Netherlands.
The last trans contestant in Miss Universe was Angela Ponce in 2018.
The Miss Universe Netherlands judges said Kolle “shined” throughout the pageant.
Announcing the victory on Instagram, they commented: “This finalist shone throughout the show and has also made the greatest progress along the way.
“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 Miss Universe final will see 90 women competing against each other. They will have to make personal statements, give in-depth interviews, and work their way through the evening gown and swimwear gowns to win the coveted crown.
Kolle said she “loved every moment” of competing. In a translated Instagram post, she said: “It’s unreal but I get to call myself @missnederland 2023. It was an educational and beautiful journey my year can’t be broken anymore.
“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.”