Company behind Miss Universe pageant files for bankruptcy

Marina Machete
Miss Portugal Marina Machete is one of two trans contestants in this year's Miss Universe pageant. Photo credit Hector Vivas

The company that owns this weekend’s upcoming Miss Universe pageant has filed for bankruptcy, but says the contest will still take place as scheduled.

It was only last year that JKN Global Group spent $20 million to purchase the rights to the pageant. Anne Jakrajutatip of JKN called the purchase “a strong, strategic addition to our portfolio” at the time.

But last week, a public document filed to the Stock Exchange of Thailand revealed that JKN had filed for business rehabilitation with the Central Bankruptcy Court. That petition was accepted on November 9.

However, despite JKN’s instability financially, the Miss Universe Organization issued a statement saying this year’s pageant will move forward.

“We confirm that Miss Universe 2023 will be held in El Salvador on 18 November 2023, where a top notch experience provided to our fans will remain our top priorities,” the statement read.

The Miss Universe pageant is notable for including for the first time at least two transgender women as contestants: Miss Portugal Marina Machete and Miss Netherlands Rikkie Kollé.

“Trans women are women, full stop,” the Miss Universe Organization told CNN in October, after Machete won the Miss Portugal crown. “We are here to celebrate women, full stop. This has been true for more than a decade, and we’re proud to have made this change very early on, compared to other programs.”

The pageant has had a trans contestant before, though Angela Ponce did not advance to the finals while representing Spain in 2018.

Featured Image Photo Credit: Hector Vivas