December 10, 2023
Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua waves after winning the Miss Universe pageant in San Salvador on November 18, 2023. © Marvin Recinos / AFP

Woman Wins

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Woman wins the Miss Universe pageant Sheynnis Palacios from Nicaragua beats 83 other rivals including two transexuals from Portugal and Netherlands

Sheynnis Palacios from Nicaragua was crowned Miss Universe at a ceremony in El Salvador on Saturday.

The 23-year-old beauty queen runs a charity which raises funds to mitigate the consequences of natural disasters in her home country.

The first runner-up was Anntonia Porsild of Thailand, followed by Moraya Wilson of Australia. 

The organizers had changed the rules in an effort to make the competition more “inclusive,” allowing married women and mothers to participate for the first time.

This year’s pageant included two transgender contestants – Rikkie Kolle of the Netherlands and Marine Machete of Portugal. Machete finished among the Top-20 finalists. Kolle, a 22-year-old LGBTQIA+ rights activist who was crowned Miss Netherlands in July and Miss Portugal’s Machete, 23, who works as cabin crew, and was named as her country’s entry in October. 

Erica Robin was the first woman to represent Pakistan. She wore a pink ‘burkini’ during the swimsuit portion of the show.

Jane Dipika Garrett from Nepal, meanwhile, became the first plus-size model to compete for the title. 

The winners of the national pageants from 84 countries participated in this year’s Miss Universe, judged by a panel that included model Halima Aden and ‘Queer Eye’ star Carson Kressley, TikTok influencer Avani Gregg and two former Miss Universe winners, Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad and Tobago (Miss Universe 1977) and Iris Mittenaere of France (Miss Universe 2016).

On the coronation night, Sheynnis consistently progressed to the next rounds, with strong performances in both the swimsuit segment and the evening gown competition.

Sheynnis Palacios

During the Top 5 question and answer segment, she was asked about the qualities and values that guide her as a leader and role model for others. 

Her response was: ‘The quality that has inspired me and has inspired millions of women and girls is humility and the ability to appreciate the little things, because that’s where the most valuable thing is: the essence of being a human.’

After reaching the Top 3, alongside Thailand’s Anntonia Porsild and Australia’s Moraya Wilson, Sheynnis was asked: ‘If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?’

Her winning answer was: ‘I would choose Mary Wollstonecraft, because she opened the gap to give an opportunity to many women.

‘What I would do is to have that income gap open up so women could work in any area that they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750. Now in 2023 we are making history.’

In the competition, Sheynnis chose mental health as her advocacy, drawing from her personal experiences with anxiety.

Hailing from a country where this issue is rarely addressed, she started an initiative called ‘Understand Your Mind’, which involves interviewing specialists on emotional care in her television segments.

Source AFP/DM/RT

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