The Miss Universe 2023 winner is Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua, who made history as the first woman from her country to win the prestigious title. She beat out 83 other contestants from around the world in a dazzling competition that celebrated diversity and beauty beyond limits.
In this article, we will introduce you to the new Miss Universe and some of the other remarkable women who participated in the pageant. We will also give you the details of the event, including the location, date, format, selection committee, and special awards.
Meet the Winner of Miss Universe 2023 and Historical Contestants
Sheynnis Palacios of Nicaragua
Sheynnis Palacios is a 24-year-old model and activist who was born and raised in Managua, Nicaragua. She graduated from the University of Central America with a degree in social communication and journalism. She is passionate about human rights, environmental protection, and social justice. She is also a spokesperson for the UN Women campaign “HeForShe”, which promotes gender equality and empowerment of women and girls. Sheynnis Palacios is fluent in Spanish, English, and French.
First Win for Nicaragua
Sheynnis Palacios made history as the first woman from Nicaragua to win the Miss Universe crown. She also became the second woman from Central America to achieve this feat, after Marisol Malaret of Puerto Rico in 1970. Sheynnis Palacios received the crown from the outgoing Miss Universe 2022, R’Bonney Gabriel of the United States, who praised her as a “beautiful, intelligent, and compassionate” woman. Sheynnis Palacios said she was “honored and grateful” to represent her country and her region on the global stage. She also dedicated her victory to the people of Nicaragua, who are facing political and social turmoil.
Details of Miss Universe 2023 Pageant
Location and Date
The Miss Universe 2023 pageant was held at the José Adolfo Pineda Arena in San Salvador, El Salvador on 18 November 2023. It was the second time that El Salvador hosted the pageant, after having last hosted it in 1975. The choice of El Salvador was met with criticism and protests by some sectors of the society, who accused the government of using public funds for the event amid an economic crisis and a state of emergency due to gang violence. However, the organizers and the contestants praised the country for its hospitality, culture, and natural beauty.
Selection of Participants
Pageant contestants came from 84 nations and territories. Five delegates were appointed after finishing second in their national pageant or being cast. The Miss Universe Organization permitted married and parenting women to participate for the first time since 1957. This showed diversity and inclusivity in the pageant. Transgender Miss Canada and Miss Brazil were the first transwomen to compete in Miss Universe.
The pageant followed a similar format as the previous edition, with three rounds of competition: preliminary, semifinal, and final. The preliminary round consisted of interviews, swimsuit, and evening gown segments, where the contestants were scored by a panel of judges. The scores were then combined with the votes from the fans and the Miss Universe Organization to determine the top 20 semifinalists. The semifinal round featured the personal statement, swimsuit, and evening gown segments, where the contestants were scored by a different panel of judges. The scores were then combined with the votes from the fans and the Miss Universe Organization to determine the top 10 finalists. The final round consisted of the final statement and the final look segments, where the contestants were scored by the same panel of judges. The scores were then combined with the votes from the fans and the Miss Universe Organization to determine the winner and the runners-up.
The selection committee for the pageant was composed of seven women who are leaders and experts in various fields. They were:
- Ana María Polo, a Cuban-American lawyer and television personality, best known for hosting the court show Caso Cerrado.
- Carolina Herrera, a Venezuelan-American fashion designer and entrepreneur, who founded her eponymous brand in 1980.
- Gabriela Isler, a Venezuelan model and television host, who won the Miss Universe 2013 title.
- Iman, a Somali-American model, actress, and entrepreneur, who is considered one of the most influential supermodels of all time.
- Natalia Vodianova, a Russian model, philanthropist, and activist, who is one of the highest-paid models in the world.
- Paulina Vega, a Colombian model and television host, who won the Miss Universe 2014 title.
- Yalitza Aparicio, a Mexican actress and activist, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her debut performance in the film Roma.
The contestants who competed in the pageant were:
- Albania – Anxhela Peristeri
- Angola – Nelma Ferreira
- Argentina – Mariana Varela
- Aruba – Helen Hernandez
- Australia – Maria Thattil
- Bahamas – Shauntae Miller
- Barbados – Hillary-Ann Williams
- Belgium – Dhenia Covens
- Belize – Iris Salguero
- Bolivia – Lenka Nemer
- Brazil – Julia Gama
- British Virgin Islands – Shabree Frett
- Bulgaria – Radinela Chusheva
- Cambodia – Sarita Reth
- Cameroon – Angele Kossinda
- Canada – Nova Stevens
- Cayman Islands – Mariah Tibbetts
- Chile – Daniela Nicolas
- Colombia – Laura Olascuaga
- Costa Rica – Ivonne Cerdas
- Croatia – Mirna Naiia Maric
- Curaçao – Chantal Wiertz
- Cyprus – Christina Lasasimma
- Czech Republic – Klára Vavrušková
- Denmark – Amanda Petri
- Dominican Republic – Kimberly Jiménez
- Ecuador – Leyla Espinoza
- Egypt – Nada Akram
- El Salvador – Vanessa Velásquez
- Finland – Viivi Altonen
- France – Amandine Petit
- Georgia – Tamar Shedania
- Germany – Tahnee Christopherson
- Ghana – Chelsea Tayui
- Great Britain – Jeanette Akua
- Greece – Maria Lepida
- Guatemala – Ivana Batchelor
- Guyana – Chelsea Ramnauth
- Haiti – Eden Berandoive
- Honduras – Cecilia Rossell
- Hungary – Blanka Somlai
- Iceland – Elísabet Hulda Snorradóttir
- India – Adline Castelino
- Indonesia – Ayu Maulida
- Ireland – Nadia Sayers
- Israel – Tehila Levi
- Italy – Viviana Vizzini
- Jamaica – Miqueal-Symone Williams
- Japan – Aisha Harumi Tochigi
- Kazakhstan – Kamila Serikbai
- Kenya – Chelsea Oduor
- Korea – Hari Park
- Kosovo – Blerta Veseli
- Laos – Christina Lasasimma
- Latvia – Jolanta Stikane
- Liberia – Kou Badio
- Lithuania – Paulita Baltrušaitytė
- Malaysia – Francisca Luhong James
- Malta – Anthea Zammit
- Mauritius – Vandana Jeetah
- Mexico – Andrea Meza
- Moldova – Natalia Balan
- Mongolia – Namuunzul Batmagnai
- Myanmar – Thuzar Wint Lwin
- Nepal – Anshika Sharma
- Netherlands – Denise Speelman
- Nicaragua – Sheynnis Palacios
- Nigeria – Maria Chike Agueze
- Norway – Sunniva Frigstad
- Panama – Carmen Jaramillo
- Paraguay – Vanessa Castro
- Peru – Janick Maceta
- Philippines – Rabiya Mateo
- Poland – Natalia Piguła
- Portugal – Cristiana Silva
- Puerto Rico – Estefanía Soto
- Romania – Bianca Lorena Tirsin
- Russia – Alina Sanko
- Singapore – Bernadette Belle Ong
- Slovakia – Natália Hoštáková
- South Africa – Natasha Joubert
- Spain – Andrea Martínez
- Sri Lanka – Amanda Obdam
- Suriname – Chané Groenewoud
- Sweden – Amanda Petri
- Switzerland – Jastina Doreen Riederer
- Thailand – Amanda Obdam
- Ukraine – Yelyzaveta Yastremska
- Uruguay – Lola de los Santos
- USA – Asya Branch
- Venezuela – Mariangel Villasmil
- Vietnam – Khánh Vân Nguyễn
- Zambia – Michelo Malambo
- Zimbabwe – Hillary Makaya
Special Awards and Results
Best National Costume
The Best National Costume award was given to the contestant who wore the most creative and original costume that represented the culture and identity of her country. The winner was chosen by the fans through an online voting system on the official Miss Universe website. The winner of the Best National Costume award was Thuzar Wint Lwin of Myanmar, who wore a costume that featured the slogan “Pray for Myanmar” in reference to the ongoing political crisis and human rights violations in her country. She also carried a flag of Myanmar and a three-finger salute, which are symbols of resistance and solidarity among the protesters. She received a standing ovation from the audience and the contestants for her brave and powerful message.
The Miss Congeniality award was given to the contestant who was voted by her fellow contestants as the most friendly, helpful, and kind. The winner of the Miss Congeniality award was Chelsea Tayui of Ghana, who was praised by her peers for her positive attitude, warm personality, and genuine spirit. She received a cash prize of $5,000 and a trophy.
Social Impact Award
The Social Impact Award was given to the contestant who had the most impactful and inspiring social initiative or advocacy. The winner was chosen by the Miss Universe Organization based on the quality, relevance, and impact of her project. The winner of the Social Impact Award was Nova Stevens of Canada, who is a co-founder and spokesperson of Freedom March Vancouver, a movement that raises awareness and fights against systemic racism and injustice. She is also an ambassador for Face of Today, a non-profit organization that supports youth mental health and empowerment. She won $5,000 and a trophy.
Spirit of Carnival Award
The Spirit of Carnival Award was a special award that was introduced for the first time in the Miss Universe 2023 pageant. It was given to the contestant who best embodied the festive and colorful spirit of the carnival, which is a popular celebration in many Latin American countries. The winner was chosen by the fans through an online voting system on the official Miss Universe website. The winner of the Spirit of Carnival Award was Vanessa Castro of Paraguay, who wore a stunning costume that featured feathers, sequins, and beads in the colors of the Paraguayan flag. She also performed a lively dance that showcased her energy and charisma. She won $5,000 and a trophy.
Swimsuit Cape Vote
The Swimsuit Cape Vote was a fun and interactive feature that allowed the fans to vote for their favorite swimsuit cape that the contestants wore during the swimsuit segment of the preliminary round. The swimsuit capes were designed by the Salvadoran fashion designer Carlos Herrera, who used recycled materials and local fabrics to create them. The winner of the Swimsuit Cape Vote was Maria Thattil of Australia, who wore a cape that had a vibrant and abstract pattern that matched her swimsuit. She won $5,000 and a trophy.