By Alex Rees, Nov. 19: Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua was crowned the 2023 Miss Universe at the culmination of the annual beauty pageant, which took place on Saturday night in El Salvador’s capital, San Salvador. Anntonia Porsild of Thailand placed as the first runner-up.
The winners of 84 countries’ national pageants had competed at this year’s Miss Universe, judged by a panel including model Halima Aden, “Queer Eye” star Carson Kressley, TikTok influencer Avani Gregg and two former Miss Universe winners, Janelle Commissiong of Trinidad & Tobago (Miss Universe 1977) and Iris Mittenaere of France (Miss Universe 2016).
Twenty semi-finalists were announced at the beginning of Saturday night’s proceedings following the results of the preliminary competition (and a global fan vote). After the swimsuit round, the field was narrowed to 10 — seeing the elimination of the first “curvy” contestant to make the pageant’s semi-finals, Miss Nepal, as well as the first contestant to choose a burkini as their swimsuit, Miss Pakistan. The evening gown round cut the number of contestants in half again.
Two rounds of hot topic Q&As then left just three women in contention: Palacios, Porsild and second runner-up Moraya Wilson of Australia.
Asked in the final round who she would choose to spend a day in the life of, Palacios chose the 18th-century British philosopher and feminist Mary Wollstonecraft, who she said broke boundaries and “gave an opportunity to many women.”
“There are no limitations for women today,” she added, via a translator.
Miss Colombia, Camila Avella, and Miss Puerto Rico, Karla Guilfú, rounded out the top five, while another member of the top 10, Spain’s Athenea Pérez, was crowned the pageant’s Miss Congeniality.
Palacios succeeds the 2022 Miss Universe, R’Bonney Gabriel of the USA.