“We are really looking for the most beautiful woman in the Netherlands,” said Monica van E, a member of the jury who chose Ms. Cooley this weekend. She is also the national director of Miss Holland.
She said that while the national and international media had been interested in talking about Ms. Cooley’s victory, many people had sent spam and threatening messages attacking Ms. Cooley.
Anne Jakrajutatip, owner of Miss Universe’s parent company and herself a transgender woman, celebrated Ms. Kollé’s win in a statement.
“Miss Universe’s transformation was front row while Angela Ponce, Spain’s first Miss Universe, walked the runway for the first time,” said Ms. Jacragutatep, adding that she was happy to make the statement that “trans women are women – and we are here to celebrate women.” .
Ms. Cooley, who is from Breda in the south of the Netherlands, has been modeling since she was in her teens. She said she chose to apply to become Miss Holland because the competitions offered her an opportunity to tell her story.
As a model, she said, “You’re kind of like a clothes hanger. Otherwise, you have to be mostly quiet.” But in the world of celebration, she said, “It’s also important to have something to say.”
Over the past decade or so, the pageant has been modernized, said Ms. van E., the national director of Miss Holland. Now, moms, divorcees, and trans women can participate, she said. “I took over Miss Holland because I wanted to make women stronger,” said Ms. van E. “I want to inspire young girls.”