MANILA, Philippines — Miss Nicaragua Sheynnis Palacios is the first woman from the Central American country to be proclaimed Miss Universe.
Palacios first tried her luck on Miss World 2021 where she represented Nicaragua and finished in the Top 40.
This year, in the Miss Universe 2023, she bested 83 other delegates from all over the world to inherit the title from last year’s winner, Filipino-American sustainable fashion designer and advocate R’Bonney Gabriel.
First from Nicaragua to win the crown
She wore the crown for being the queen of the universe at the culmination of a star-studded television show held at the Jose Adolfo Pineda Arena in the El Salvadoran capital of San Salvador on Nov. 18 (Nov. 19 in Manila).
Settling for the first runner-up spot was Anntonia Porsild from Thailand, while Moraya Wilson from Australia was proclaimed as second runner-up.
The general question asked of the finalists was: “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose, and why?”
Palacios’ answer: “I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft because she opened the gap and gave an opportunity to many women. And what I would do, I would want that income gap [to] open up so that women could work in an area that they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women; that was in 1750. Now, in 2023, we are making history.”
MMD’s Top 10 exit
The Philippines’ Michelle Dee finished in the Top 10 of the competition.
The Filipino queen is a professional model, host, and actress whose mother is Miss International 1979 Melanie Marquez. Reina Hispanoamericana 2017 Teresita Ssen “Winwyn” Marquez is her cousin. Dee also represented the Philippines in the 2019 Miss World pageant in London where she finished in the Top 12.
Dee was also among the three “gold winners” of the “Voice for Change” initiative by crown provider Mouawad with CI Talks. Puerto Rico’s Karla Guilfo and Angola’s Ana Coimbra were the other two. They will each receive $12,000 for their chosen advocacy programs.
She also received the “Spirit of Carnival” award from Carnival Cruise Line for embodying the company’s value of fun, friendship, diversity, and inclusion.
This year’s competition, the 72nd edition of the global tilt, has welcomed the first mothers and married women to the international stage, Michelle Cohn from Guatemala and Camila Avella from Colombia who advanced to the Top 5.
Two transgender European women have also taken part in this year’s international competition, Rikkie Valerie Kolle from the Netherlands, and Marina Machete from Portugal who became the first trans woman to enter the semifinals.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant also celebrated body positivity with full-figured delegate Jane Garrett from Nepal, who finished in the Top 20.
The three-hour program was a star-studded event, with EGOT (Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, Tony winner) John Legend as musical performer. Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo shared hosting chores with TV presenters Maria Manounos and Jeannie Mai.
Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray returned to provide color commentary together with “Access Hollywood” host Zuri Hall.
Miss Universe 1977 Janelle “Penny” Commissiong and Miss Universe 2016 Iris Mittenaere joined the selection committee, which also included Miss Universe 2021 first runner-up Nadia Ferrera, and Filipino-American physician Connie Mariano, who worked as a White House doctor.
The 2023 Miss Universe pageant is also the last competition with Paula Shugart as president of the organization. She announced that she is stepping down after a 23-year tenure during the national costume show held in the same arena on Nov. 16 (Nov. 17 in Manila).
The Miss Universe Organization also announced that Mexico will host the pageant’s 73rd edition next year.
The Philippines has produced four Miss Universe winners in the past—Gloria Diaz in 1969, Margie Moran in 1973, Pia Wurtzbach in 2015, and Gray.