Kolle was crowned Miss Netherlands two weeks ago, becoming first transgender woman to win prize
VOORTHUIZEN (Netherlands) (AFP) – For the past decade, Rikkie Kolle has been on a journey that has seen her grow from a little boy in a Dutch harbour city into the Netherlands’ latest beauty queen.
The 22-year-old’s crowning glory came two weeks ago when she was crowned Miss Netherlands at a gala function, becoming the first transgender woman to win the prize.
“This is truly my year,” said the statuesque brunette, crossing her long fingers in front of a sash with her new title.
“To me it’s an acknowledgement. To win the title as the first transgender woman after 94 years was a beautiful moment,” Kolle told AFP.
The organisers of Miss Netherlands said Kolle “has a strong story with a clear mission”.
She will now represent the Netherlands at the Miss Universe pageant in El Salvador in November, the second-ever transgender woman to participate in the contest after Angela Ponce, who appeared for Spain in 2018.
Becoming the first transgender to win Miss Universe was “the big dream”, Kolle said, adding: “I am just going to enjoy the experience.”
Kolle, who lives in the southern city of Breda, faced a barrage of negative messages and even death threats on social media after winning.
“The reactions in general were positive… but you also get negative reactions. I believe those will blow over,” she said, when asked about the threats.
“I want to focus on the nice things, and there are plenty,” she said.
Kolle added: “I’ve always chosen to go my own way and that’s what I believe helped me to become the person I really wanted to be.”
Kolle said she hoped to be a role model for others, particularly young people from the transgender community.
“I think it’s very important to be there, that they have someone to inspire them or to refer to because it was more difficult for me when I was a child,” she said.
Long and difficult journey
Growing up in the northern harbour city of Den Helder as a boy wasn’t easy, said Kolle.
But with the support of her parents, she started with puberty-blocking treatment at the age of 12.
When she turned 16, female hormone treatment followed.
Kolle said her transition came full circle in January this year when she underwent surgery that “gave me the complete feeling that I was now a woman and it freed me”.
“I was born little Rik. But little Rik really wanted to be Rikkie,” she captioned a photo posted in late January, showing her lying in a hospital bed.
It has been a long and difficult journey.
“This road will never end. You will always remain a transgender woman but it’s getting more normal for me,” she said.
“My hope is that other people will also realise that this is normal. That we are all just human beings.”
“We should stop putting ourselves in boxes because I just don’t think it’s from this era any more. It’s just unnecessary,” she said.
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