Trans pioneer in Thailand: Get to know Miss Universe acquirer Anne Jakrajutatip
"Finally, the universe is ours."
The Miss Universe Organization was recently acquired by Thai media and content conglomerate JKN Global Group, headed by CEO Anne Jakrajutatip. The billionaire shared the exciting news on Instagram, writing "Are you ready to move forward with [Anne]?"
Who is this Thai billionaire that now owns the world's longest-running and most prestigious pageant?
In Thailand, Anne is a celebrity—a transwoman who built an entertainment empire. Established in 2014, JKN is one of the biggest content management and distribution companies in her country, partnering with media giants like Walt Disney, CBS, and Sony.
The company also brought Korean, Chinese, and Indian productions to Thai TV, earning Anne the nickname "Queen of Indian Content."
Growing up, Anne studied in an all-male school, getting sexually harassed by a teacher and mocked by her fellow students. She then moved to Australia to study and came home after to work in her family's video-rental business. As people turned away from video rental, Anne revamped their business to content distribution.
As CEO of JKN, the businesswoman has received accolades including the Asian Media Woman of the Year award in Singapore in 2019, and was even part of Forbes's list of richest transgenders in the world for 2020, with her $210 million net worth.
Thai trans trailblazer
While she was at the top of her game, Anne began transitioning at the age of 35. She's also a mother to two beautiful children.
"Ten reconstruction surgeries over three years and living like a mummy for months weren't easy but it was happy pain. I could finally be the girl I'd been seeing in the mirror for 36 years. I'm 100% a woman now," she told India Times.
The businesswoman even credits her openness about her transition to her company's success.
"Without the transition, my businesses are unlikely to have had such success and reputation in Thailand. It's kind of a chief executive of branding. I'm the brand of the companies and that has greatly facilitated our cooperation talks with prospective clients and suppliers," she said in an interview with the Bangkok Post.
Outside of her multi-billion empire, Anne is an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and is the founder of Life Inspired For Transsexuals (LIFT) Foundation, which campaigns for the rights to dignity and opportunities of trans people.
Anne has made friends with Kapuso stars Clint Bondad, Derrick Monasterio, Ken Chan, and Heart Evangelista. In 2020, she revealed that Clint was living with her for nine months, calling him her brother. She's also close with the actor's brother, Kirk Bondad.