The 72nd edition of the Miss Universe pageant was held on Saturday night, November 18, 2023, at the Jose Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador. Nicaragua’s Sheynnis Palacios has been crowned Miss Universe for the year 2023, marking her country’s first win at the international beauty pageant. Miss Thailand Anntonia Porsild emerged as the first runner-up and Miss Australia Moraya Wilson was named the second runner-up.

In the 72nd Miss Universe pageant this year, contestants from 84 countries and territories competed against each other. The pageant was hosted by American television personality Jeannie Mai and Miss Universe 2012 Olivia Culpo, apart from American television presenter Maria Menounos. Sheynnis was crowned by former Miss Universe 2022 – USA’s R’Bonney Gabriel on the stage. Miss Universe shared all the updates on its official Instagram page.

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The Winning Answer

The finalist’s answer to the final round question was rather significant for her crowning. The question asked was: “If you could live one year in another woman’s shoes, who would you choose and why?” To which Sheynnis responded by saying, “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 women could work. In any area, they choose to work in because there are no limitations for women. That was 1750. Now in 2023, we are making history.

Mary Wollstonecraft was a British writer, philosopher, and advocate of women’s rights. Her answer clearly won everyone’s hearts. The diva has also won Miss World Nicaragua 2020 and represented her country at the Miss World 2021 competition held in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 2022. She was part of the top 40 finalists. As per Miss Universe, Palacios is a 23-year-old mental health activist and audiovisual producer from Managua, Nicaragua.

Know Sheynnis Palacios

She usually prefers to be behind the camera, but she’s stepped into the spotlight because she believes in finding solutions for as many of the world’s problems as she can. She put herself through the communications program at her university by working in her mom’s snack business. When the business faltered in an economic crisis, her mother migrated north to find a better job, and she became the economic and emotional support for her grandmother and young brother.

Sheynnis Palacios miss universe 2023 winner Miss india shweta sharda

Her cause this year will be mental health, which stems from her own experiences with anxiety. Coming from a country where this issue is rarely addressed, she started an accessible initiative called “Understand Your Mind,” in which she interviews a specialist on emotional care in her television segments. She has also produced events and other audiovisual projects on this theme. Her goal in life is to work in the service of humanity, by running a newsroom and producing content and commercials for international brands. In her spare time, she rescues cats and dogs, and loves a good mental game and puzzle.

Miss India Shweta Sharda

India’s representative at the pageant, 23-year-old Shweta Sharda, had made it to the semi-finals of the pageant. A model from Chandigarh, she had won the prestigious Miss Diva Universe title this year. The pageant took place in Mumbai, and she succeeded Divita Rai.  “I’m looking forward to making my nation and my family proud by bringing the Miss Universe Crown back to India,” she had told the media after winning Miss Diva Universe.

Shweta shifted to Mumbai with her mother at the age of 16 to make a career in modelling. She has appeared in several reality shows like Dance India Dance, Dance Deewane, and Dance Plus. Shweta also used to work as a choreographer in the dance reality show Jhalak Dikhhla Jaa. The Indian beauty holds a bachelor’s degree from Indira Gandhi National Open University.

Shweta Sharda wowed everyone as she showcased the essence of a modern Indian woman with her stunning appearance at the Miss Universe National Costume Round. She dazzled the crowd with her mesmerising appearance, wearing an exquisitely embroidered gold ensemble. It symbolizes a new, resilient India, weathering storms and emerging powerful. It embodies diversity, integrity, strength, and resilience, showcased in an armoured goddess look.

Palacios bested entrants from 83 other countries, including Miss India Shweta Sharda, who was called into the list of top 20 contestants. The official Instagram handle of Miss Diva congratulated Sharda on her campaign at the pageant. “The moment our LIVA Miss Diva Universe 2023, Shweta Sharda was called into the Top 20. Shweta, the nation is proud of your representation and we cannot wait to welcome you back with lots of love. Thank you for raising our flag high at the @missuniverse pageant,” the organisation said in the post.

Key Highlights

Miss Universe 2023 came with a lot of firsts and it seems it made history. American singer-songwriter John Legend performed his popular track “All of Me” at the ceremony and captivated the audience with his charm. The 72nd edition of Miss Universe featured two transgender women, two mothers, one plus-sized model Jane Dipika, amongst other firsts. Jane said, “As a curvy woman challenging conventional beauty standards, I’m here to stand for all women.

Erica Robin, who was crowned the first-ever Miss Universe Pakistan 2023, also made it to the top 20. She graced the swimsuit competition in a fully covered light pink loose gown instead of a typical bikini to honour her religion and country’s beliefs. Miss India Shweta Sharda and Miss Pakistan Erica Robin did not qualify for the swimwear stage to proceed to the evening gown competition.

Miss Universe 2023 opened a new chapter with transgender inclusion through the two transwomen participants. Rikkie Kollé of the Netherlands and Marina Machete of Portugal are the second transgender women to compete in the pageant, following Ángela Ponce of Spain in 2018.

Miss Universe 2022 R’Bonney Gabriel’s announcement during New York Fashion Week marks a historic moment, as the pageant eliminated its upper age limit which had previously been set at 28. There will be no maximum age limit for participants for the first time in its history. Camila Avella of Colombia, Michelle Cohn of Guatemala, and Lorena Santen of Switzerland were the married women and/or mothers in this list of inclusive participants.

It was so heartwarming to watch all the gorgeous ladies put their best foot forward and add to the celebration of diversity and inclusivity at the 72nd Miss Universe 2023 pageant. We congratulate them all!