In a dazzling event held on Saturday night in San Salvador, Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios made history by being crowned the 2023 Miss Universe. This monumental win marks the first time a Nicaraguan woman has clinched the prestigious title. Palacios, who had previously represented Nicaragua in the 2017 Teen Miss Universe pageant and the 2021 Miss World pageant, has now etched her name in the record books.
The annual beauty pageant featured competitors from 84 countries, all vying for the coveted title. A distinguished panel of judges, including model Halima Aden, “Queer Eye” star Carson Kressley, TikTok influencer Avani Gregg, and former Miss Universe winners Janelle Commissiong and Iris Mittenaere, had the challenging task of selecting the winner.
The evening unfolded with the announcement of the twenty semi-finalists, determined by the results of the preliminary competition and a global fan vote. The swimsuit round trimmed the field to 10 contestants, with notable eliminations, including Miss Nepal, the first “curvy” contestant in the semi-finals, and Miss Pakistan, the first contestant to choose a burkini as her swimsuit. The evening gown round further narrowed the contestants down.
Palacios shone throughout the competition, showcasing her elegance in the evening gown round with ornate beading and an extravagant floor-length cape. For the swimsuit round, she wore a two-piece adorned with delicate floral ruffles.
The climax of the night arrived with a thought-provoking Q&A session, leaving only three contestants in contention: Palacios, first runner-up Anntonia Porsild of Thailand, and second runner-up Moraya Wilson of Australia. When asked who she would choose to spend a day in the life of, Palacios named the 18th-century British philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft. Palacios admired Wollstonecraft for breaking boundaries and providing opportunities for women, emphasizing that there are no limitations for women today.
As the newly crowned Miss Universe, Palacios graciously waved to the audience, succeeding the 2022 Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel of the USA. This historic moment not only celebrates Palacios’ individual achievement but also marks a significant milestone for Nicaraguan women on the global stage.